Athletics Athletics

Men 1500m squad keep medal chase alive


DAEGU, South Korea, August 30- In what is becoming a regular feature of the 13th Worlds, all Kenyan entrants in the men 1500m, featuring Olympics champion, Asbel Kiprop, Commonwealth winner, Silas Kiplagat and Daniel Kipchirchir Komen cleared the first hurdle here on Tuesday.

The trio, who have the duty of trying to end the startling statistic of Kenya never winning the men metric mile gold, eased to Thursday’s semis with pledges to end the barren run in Daegu.

“Komen won his heat, Silas and I also qualified and if you look at the world list, the top three athletes come from Kenya as well as five in the top ten. We are all in that list and this makes us be in a good position to win this gold,” the Olympic champion who bombed out at the finals in Berlin two years ago said.

Kiprop, who raced 3:41.22 to win his heat, revealed he chose to run in front to prevent being checked by the competition.

“It’s easy to get yourself in a box and this could mean the end of your championships. The best thing is we have the chance to win this as a team if we all make the finals. (Morroco’s Amine) Laalou is here and some other guys but it’s good,” he added.

Kiplagat, who came here as the world leader with his 3:30.47 winning effort at the Monaco Diamond League meet, secured his passage with 3:40.13 run for third in his heat to inch closer to his dream of adding the world title to his Commonwealth crown.

“I can see there are high chances to qualify for the finals. I have never run at any World Championships at youth or junior level and I’m so happy to be here. We must be ready for the challenge and I’m confident we can make it,” he offered.

Kipchichir Komen, who is in his third Worlds following his exits at the Paris 2003 and Helsinki 2005 editions was the first off the gun and he delivered a 3:38.54 victory in his heat.
Other frontrunners for the medals including Kenyan born Bahraini defending champion, Yusuf Saad Kamel (born Gregory Konchellah), Morocco’s Amine Laalou and Abdelaati Iguider, New Zealand Commonwealth bronze winner, Nick Willis, Ethiopia’s World Indoor titleholder, Deresse Mekonnen and compatriot, Mekonnen Gebremedhin also made it.

“It’s never easy if you have not raced in a month. I used the race to get some pop back to my legs for the next round. I like using the first round as a training run for the other rounds. Kiprop, Kiplagat and Laalou are the three main guys and I look forward to challenging them,” Willis remarked.

The heats marked the first outing of the season for the defending champion after a long lay-off.

– Mutwiri Mutuota is reporting for Capital Sport from Daegu, South Korea