NAIROBI, Kenya, July 23- As far a drawing battle lines go, world champion Asbel Kiprop has sounded the most audible of war cries ahead of his title defence at the Moscow World Championships by declaring his bold intention to attack his 1,500m personal best in Monaco on July 19.
And should he achieve his aim of beating his 3:28.88 career best ran at the same track last year, Kiprop believes he will have delivered the perfect warning to the potential challengers to his crown across the globe.
“I cancelled running in Oslo (June 13) in order to prepare for Monaco. When I’m looking forward to trying and break my personal best. I went there and did 3:28 and it was exciting, I was happy to have run the fastest time since 2004,” Kiprop said late on Friday after qualifying for the final of the 800m during the Kenyan Track and Field Championships in Nairobi.
The deposed Olympics champion was categorical that the monumental effort in Monaco that was achieved less than a fortnight ahead of the London competition did not cost him the title.
“It was not a problem during the Olympics, the problem was the injury,” the titleholder stated alluding to the hamstring strain incurred in his final training session in Nairobi before Kenya departed for the London Games.
“I had to encourage myself and say what if I had fallen in the heats or semi finals? It came as planned, you can never know what will happen on the track,” he told of how he lifted himself up after surrendering the Olympic title he won in Beijing after the initial champion, Bahrain’s Rashid Ramzy was banned for drug use.
Since he has automatic entry in the Moscow Worlds as a titleholder, Kiprop believes his country stands a better chance to hold on to the title he won in Daegu, South Korea while the pressure associated with making the Kenyan team has been lifted off his shoulders.
“We still have more than a month to prepare. It will be easy for us in the men 1,500m in Moscow and whether I will be a repeat world champion, I want it to come as a surprise.
“Right now, I cannot say I want to be this or that, I will prepare well and run my best,” the champion explained.
He is confident that his shape is coming about nicely after spending most of the latter end of last season recovering from the injury that saw him scoop the wooden spoon in London, a shocking outcome for a titleholder.
“In Doha, the first one, I was comfortable, I went to Shanghai and managed to win but in Eugene, I was a little bit tired and Silas (Kiplagat) managed to win,” he summed his Diamond League campaign.
The league campaign has seen him collect victories in Doha (3:31.13/May 10), Shanghai (3:32.39/May18) in his speciality before he was beaten by compatriot and Commonwealth champion, Silas Kiplagat over the Mile at the Pre Fontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon where he clocked 3:49.53 for second.
Kiprop explained his preference for Monaco where he achieved his dream to run under 3:30 for the first time in he clocked his 1:43.15 lifetime best in 800m in 2011.
“It is the best track; I feel most comfortable running there. When you compare all 1500m guys, Silas Kiplagat, Nixon Chepseba, the American guys and Olympic champion, Makhloufi all carried their personal bests in Monaco.”
Kiprop was in imperious form during the domestic championships where he booked his ticket for the men 800m by winning his semi-final in 1:48.1.
“I hope Athletics Kenya will give me permission to run in Monaco since I have cancelled races in Paris and Oslo to concentrate on this one,” he concluded referring to the Kenyan sports governing body tough stance against competing outside once the team for Moscow is selected.