Moscow: Odds-on Kenyan favourite Asbel Kiprop retained the men’s 1500 metres crown at the World Athletics Championships on Sunday in a magnificent display of controlled running.
Kiprop clocked 3min 36.28sec, with American Matthew Centrowitz improving on his bronze in the 2011 Daegu worlds by claiming silver in 3:36.78. South African Johan Cronje took a surprise bronze (3:36.83).
The 24-year-old Kiprop, who was crowned the 2008 Olympic champion but could only finish 12th at the London Games, was in total control of the race.
He went straight to the front of a packed field from the start, with Norway’s Henrik Ingebrigsten on his shoulder amid much pushing and shoving.
The first 400m went by in a conservative 59.69sec as Kiprop’s teammate Nixon Kiplimo Chepseba then took up the running, building up a 10-metre lead on the pack in an effort to build the pace.
Centrowitz moved up into Kiprop’s slipstream as Ethiopian Mekonnen Gebremehdin, silver medallist at the 2009 worlds in Berlin, also made a move.
Chepseba led through the bell for the final lap, Kiprop looking totally at ease on his shoulder as the pace upped and the field split.
In the back strait he accelerated away effortlessly, Centrowitz holding off the attentions of Chepseba, Kenyan defending silver medallist Silas Kiplagat and world indoor bronze medallist Gebremehdin.
Kiprop’s victory exactly followed the formbook, the Kenyan having won all three of his Diamond League outings this year over 1500m, in Doha, Shanghai and Monaco.
The most recent of those victories saw him move to fourth on the world all-time list with his 3:27.72, making him more than three seconds quicker this year than any other athlete who was contesting the event in Moscow. Olympic champion Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria missed the event through illness.
Meanwhile, Kenya’s Eunice Sum won the women’s 800m title. The 25-year-old finished in 1min 57.38sec with Russia’s defending champion Mariya Savinova taking silver (1:57.80) and Brenda Martinez of the US the bronze (1:57.91).
Earlier, Germany’s Christina Obergfoll won the women’s javelin title with a throw of 69.05me with Australia’s Kimberley Mickle finishing second (a personal best of 66.25) and defending champion Maria Abakumova of Russia taking the bronze (65.09).