By John Kwoba NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
It is not every day that one manages to get lucky four times,
but that will be the motive for World Champion Asbel Kiprop when
he lines up in defence of his title at the London World
Athletics Championships from Aug 4-13.
Kiprop has won four
major titles in 1500m, but his victory in Beijing two years ago
was arguably the most impressive of the lot as he had to
extricate himself from a seemingly impossible position on the
last lap and overtake nine runners in the last 300 metres to
ensure his third world title.
A fourth world title
in London would match the haul achieved by world record-holder
Hicham El Guerrouj from Morocco between 1997 and 2003.
But while El
Guerrouj could often rely on a teammate to ensure a fast pace to
his liking, Kiprop has three younger teammates - not to mention
some very capable challengers from the rest of the world - all
looking to knock the reigning champion off his pedestal.
“It is down to
strategy. Competition in this race is so stiff that you have to
be on your game to be able to beat the opposition. I have no
doubt about my ability, and rule me out at your own peril,” said
Kiprop in a telephone call from his training camp.
Kiprop has been in
indifferent form in the lead-up to the championships. Most
recently, he was a well-defeated 11th at the IAAF
Diamond League meeting in Monaco in 3:34.91, but experience and
a cool head - which Kiprop demonstrated after getting boxed on
the last lap in Beijing - are what is important in a
A month ago, Ronald
Kwemoi would have probably been the consensus pick to claim this
title. He won the 1500m at the Kenyan Trials at altitude in
3:30.89 but this was followed by a defeat over 3000m at the IAAF
Diamond League meeting in Paris before finishing third in
Monaco, where he appeared to limp away from the track.
Elijah Manangoi and
Timothy Cheruiyot finished first and second respectively in that
race in the two fastest times of the year.
They were also
second and seventh respectively in Beijing and are both expected
to feature in the race for the medals again.
Manangoi was one of
the favorites for the Olympic title last year, but a calf injury
forced him to withdraw from the semifinal while Cheruiyot has
improved substantially since making the final two years ago when
he was still a teenager.
The likes of
Bahrain’s Sadik Mikhou (3:31.34) and Ethiopia’s Aman Wote
(3:31.63) both feature prominently on the world list, but
neither of them has much in the way of championship form.
There will also be
Nick Willis from New Zealand, Abdalaati Iguider from Morocco and
Matthew Centrowitz from the United States.