Reigning champion Asbel Kiprop led a powerful trio of Kenyans into Sunday’s 1,500 metres final at the World Athletics Championships, giving himself the chance of shooting for a fourth successive gold medal in the metric mile event.
The 28-year-old Kiprop, seeking to equal the record of four successive titles set by Morocco’s world record holder Hicham El Guerrouj, kept out of trouble on the wide outside before sprinting home a comfortable second in a robust heat on Friday.
He followed home his compatriot Elijah Manangoi, the fastest man in the world this year, who ran a controlled race to win the opening semi-final in 3 minutes 40.10 seconds, four-hundredths of a second clear of the onrushing Kiprop.
“I have a lot of experience from world races, I’ve been doing this for many years and I’m ready for anything,” said Kiprop, after doing well to steer clear of the familiar rough-and-tumble of a competitive battle following a slow first lap.
“It was very tactical
today but there was a lot
of pushing, so I stayed at the back to stay out of trouble. I knew I had the speed in my legs over the last lap but I just waited for my moment to ease through and qualify.”
Manangoi said he had better than in the heats.
“Today was a lot more tactical,” he said. “I want any medal but gold would be the one I would love. I know my countryman Kiprop will be strong, but it’s a championship and anything can happen.”