NAIROBI, August 19 – All Africa Games champion Asbel Kiprop clinched silver in the men’s 1500 metres final in Beijing on Tuesday.
Try as he might, the 19 year old could simply not find the energy or the power to overhaul eventual winner Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain in the home stretch, and had to be content with second place in 3:33.11.
Augustine Choge who did most of the front running finished in 11th position in 3:35.50.
Kiprop had shot to the lead at the gun staying ahead throughout the first lap. Choge then took over pacemaking duty taking the field through 800 metres in 1:56.06 and 2:53.67 at 1200 metres.
Ramzi made his move with 200 metres to go and with Kiprop almost five metres back, Ramzi zoomed away to win his first Olympic gold.
Earlier, the 5,000 metres trio of Vivian Cheruiyot, Priscah Cherono and Sylvia Kibet are through to the women’s final after safely negotiating the qualifying heats.
Kibet was second in heat one behind Olympic 10,000 metres champion Tirunesh Dibaba in a time of 15:10.37.
Cheruiyot who won silver at the Osaka World Championships last year was second in 14:57.27 while Cherono was fourth in the heat won by Olympic champion Meseret Defar.
Kenya is currently the highest placed African nation with two gold, four silver and two bronze.
The challenge for honours resumes on Wednesday afternoon with the men’s 800 metres heats. World Champion Alfred Kirwa, Boaz Lalang and veteran Wilfred Bungei will be in action.
It will be Lalang’s first time to represent the country and the 19 year old will be hoping to continue his improvement this season. Kirwa has had mixed season so far and will be looking to become the first man to win both the Olympics and World 800 metres crown.
For Bungei, Beijing provides the last chance for him to win a medal for Kenya at the Games after missing out during the Athens games four years ago.
Later the 5,000 metres team of Edwin Soi, Eliud Kipchoge and Thomas Longosiwa in action.
A silver medallist in Osaka, Kipchoge will be looking to improve on that while Soi will be hoping to translate his incredible performances in the Golden League to the most prestigious event in the world.
For Longosiwa, it will be redemption time as he takes a bow in Beijing two years after he was dropped from the Beijing World Junior Championships national team over age cheating allegations.