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Asbel trains sights on 3:26 territory

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ASBEL-FINALNAIROBI, Kenya, March 7- World champion, Asbel Kiprop, is out to dip under 3:27 in his 1500m speciality this season as he targets a berth in the IAAF Continental Cup later this year.

Kiprop who defend his world title in Moscow last summer uncorked a 1:45.3 leg in the opening leg of the 4X800m race at the Safaricom AK Relay Series meeting in Nairobi on Friday but it was not enough to lead his Eldoret team to victory.

“Today was my first outing on the track and I wanted to feel the spikes and the tartan to see how my body would react. I want to run at the World Cup and that mean’s I have to go to the African Championships to qualify.

“I’m also interested in competing at the World Relay Championships in Bahamas but in the 4X800m in May since this will give me the speed to tackle 1500m,” Kiprop said after watching his Eldoret team mates finish third in 7:09.6.

“Because we do not have major championships this year, it is also my target to run under my personal best and do a high 3:26. I don’t think I will consider the Commonwealth Games since they are so close to the World Cup.

“I want to give young runners a chance to go to Scotland and feel how it is to win a medal for their country for motivation,” the 3:27.72 career best 1500m athlete explained.

Kiprop ran his lifetime best at the IAAF Diamond League in Monaco last year having set his previous 3:28.88 career best at the same meeting in 2012.

“This season, I have prepared for the season without injury and I feel in good shape. It’s only maintaining and training harder to achieve my goals this year,” the Daegu and Moscow Worlds champion said.

The African Senior championships will run in Morocco from August 10 to 14 ahead of Continental Cup in Marrakech, the same country on September 13 and 14.

Eldoret team mate and Olympics and Worlds finalist, Nixon Chepseba, who ran the anchor leg and paled to third said his target was to better his 1500m career best 3:29.77 set last year in Monaco finishing second to friend Kiprop.

“The 800m race is not my favourite; in fact, I prefer the 5000m race instead. Unlike last season, I’m not injured at the start of the season and I’m looking forward to competing for the country at the African Championships or Commonwealth Games.

“Since there is no major event this season, I will do all I can to run a better time in the 1500m,” Chepseba stated.

Following the day-long meet, Athletics Kenya will analyse the results and invite select performers to compete at the next leg of the Relay Series in Nakuru.

Kericho won the men 4X800m in 7:07.1 ahead of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) who clocked 7:08.3 with their anchor man, Abraham Kiplagat, getting past Chepseba.
Elsewhere, KDF were the winners of the women 4 X1500m in 19:00.5 with Perine Nenkampi anchoring them to victory ahead of Sigowet who had 2010 World Youth 3000m winner, Purity Cherotich, running the last leg.

A select AK 1 side took the honours in the men 4X400m in 3:07.9 ahead of AK 2 (3:10.2) and Nanyuki (3:11.12) as Lanet won the men 4X1500m event in 16:26.9 with KDF (16:37.0) and Nanyuki (16:67.5) occupying the minor podium positions.

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