NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 25- The shadow of a poor outing followed three time 1500m World Champion Asbel Kiprop into the Lausanne leg of the IAAF Diamond League in Switzerland when he finished a disappointing fourth in the 1000m race.
Kiprop flew into the Swiss capital with the ghosts that saw him finish a disappointing sixth in Rio still hanging over his head. But he made it clear pre-race that he was not coming to Lausanne for revenge.
“I’m not saying this is revenge. This is sport and I’ve come to do my best. After this race, I will go back to Kenya and train for the Brussels leg on 9th of September,” he said on Wednesday evening.
He stuck to the same tact of racing from the back and when he wanted to pull out, the leading pack led by Olympic bronze medalist Djiboutian Souleiman Ayanleh was already a good distance ahead with a gap of close to 50m and he could not catch up.
Ayanleh held on to win the race in a new Diamond League record and teh fifth fastest time of all time of 2:13.49, wading off a final charge from 2013 World Youth 1500m champion Robert Biwott who ran a time of 2:13.89.
Kiprop clocked 2:14.23 finishing fourth, a new personal best for him over that distance.
Reigning Olympic 1500m champion Mathew Centrowitz finished sixth in 2:16.67, a new personal best for him over the distance as well.
Kiprop leads the Diamond League rankings though with 34 points ahead of compatriot Elijah Managng’oi who is nursing an injury that saw him fail to compete in the final of the 1500m in Rio.
In the men’s 400m hurdles, World Champion Nicholas Bett put off the disappointment of disqualification in the heats in Rio finishing second in a new season best time of 48.68 behind Estonia’s Magi Rasmus who won the race.
Olympic silver medalist Boniface Mucheru finished last after jogging to the finish line, having seemingly pulled a muscle in the final 40m of the race.
In the women’s 800m, Eunice Sum who failed to get into the final of the race in Rio managed to finish second behind Olympic silver medalist Francine Niyonsaba from Burundi.
“Rio was disappointing. I felt sick during the semis. Sometimes you need to forget what happened and move on. I am trying to do exactly that. It was a good race tonight. I have a couple more races left this season and I am still searching for my season best,” Sum said after the race as she put on a brave face she will bounce back in the remaining two races of the season.
Niyonsaba took advantage of the absence of South African Caster Semenya who has beaten her four times already this season including in the Olympics to strongly punch the pace and cross the line in 1:57.71.
Hellen Obiri who won silver in the 5000m in Rio stepped down to her preferred 3000m race where she finished second behind winner Genzebe Dibaba who showed her trademark last kick, throwing all the anger of losing the Olympic 1500m title to Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon into the race.
Dibaba crossed the line in a meeting record of 8:31.84 ahead of Obiri who clocked 8:33.96.
“I didn’t win the race today but I am happy with my performance. I enjoyed the race because the track was very fast and the crowd was great as well,” a joyous Obiri commented after the race.
The men’s 3000m steeplechase, as expected was a Kenyan affair, 20 year old Abraham Kibiwott winning ahead of an experienced field of athletes that had the likes of Jairus Birech, Brimin Kipruto and Paul Kipsiele Koech.
Kibiwott led a group of Kenyans past the line in the top five, Nicholas Bett coming second, London 2012 bronze medalist Abel Mutai third, Birech fourth and Kipruto fifth.