Kenya’s Kiprop set to star on Monaco track

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Nairobi, July 8 (IANS) Kenyan mid-distance star runner Asbel Kiprop will be one of the key attractions at the 10th Diamond League meeting of the season in Monaco on July 17.

All eyes will be on the two-time World 1,500 metres Champion who is seeking a hat-trick at the World Championships in Beijing in August as he uses the Herculis meet in the French Principality to lay his marker ahead of the major international event, reports Xinhua.

Monaco holds a special place for the 26-year-old since it is at this track that he has posted the three fastest times of his career. In 2013, he uncorked his sizzling three minutes and 27.72 seconds lifetime best in Monaco before going on to defend the world title he first won at the 2011 edition in Daegu when the biennial track and field showpiece was held in Moscow.

Last season, Kiprop announced he would attack the world record of 3:26.00 held by his Moroccan idol and retired double Olympic champion Hicham El Guerrouj in the French Principality. However, his bid came crashing down to his bitter domestic rival and Moscow Worlds silver medallist Silas Kiplagat, who beat him with his barnstorming personal best performance of 3:27.64.

Kiprop still ran a season’s best 3:28.45, his second fastest race over the distance but the damage to his confidence was evident when he was stunned by Djibouti’s Ayanleh Souleiman to both the African and Continental Championships titles later that summer.

The 2008 Beijing Olympics crown holder restored some measure of his pride when he beat Souleiman, Kiplagat and a loaded field to top honours at the June 11 star-studded Mile race at the Bislett Games Diamond League meeting in Oslo in his latest outing.

His watchers know a commanding performance at his favourite track in Monaco will set the stage for a possible world-title winning show in China, having dipped under the 3:30 barrier for the first time when he won the 2012 meeting in 3:28.88.

British double Olympic and World Champion Mo Farah leads the challengers to the favoured Kiprop beside Commonwealth champion and compatriot James Kiplagat Magut, New Zealand veteran Nick Willis as well as American pair Leo Manzano and Matthew Centrowitz.

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