Three times World 1500m champion Asbel Kiprop has revealed his burning desire to switch to long distance running, but not until after he has emulated the great Hicham El Guerroujâs record of four wins at the World Championships in London next month.
El Guerrouj, of Morocco, is the world record holder in 1500m, by and large, the greatest middle distance runner of all time with four 1500m world championship wins and two Olympic gold medals under his belt.
âItâs a shame that we never competed against El Guerrouj as he would have made us really up our game considerably but all in all it will be awesome for me if I become the first man to equal his record of four wins at the world championships. No athlete compares to him, he is an idle, so equaling his feat will always place me in a different league altogether,â said Kirop.
Kirop said he will try to run both at 1500m and 5000m during next yearâs Commonwealth Games, which was what the crack Moroccan loved to do back then.
âPreparations have been going on really well for me in Iten. Remember I started the season on a low key but I am now building profile towards the 2017 World Championships. If I run my seasonâs best in 1500m in Monaco during the Diamond League, I am going to be at a better position to defend my world title, my main target of the season.â
Kiprop candidly admitted that he has always tried to emulate the Moroccan in vain.
âI have never done the 5km in my career. So, before running in the road races or even thinking of the marathons, I feel I need a fresh impetus in my running career, hence the decision to move to another distance.â
âEver since I joined athletics in 2007 I have seen talents like Elijah Manangâoi, Nickson Chepseba, and Timothy Cheruiyot emerge. I always team up with a new athlete after the trials and I feel like I am the driving force just like David Rudisha and Ezekiel Kemboi.â
âIf we want a successor to Mo Farah, we need a strong Kenyan in 5000m. Mo Farah is soon leaving the track and we need a Kenyan to do something. Itâs been quite a drought for Kenya in 5000m,â he observed.
âWe had the likes of Caleb Ndiku emerge in 2014 but he has again been beaten by Mo Farah severally. Itâs been rare to have another Kenyan since Benjamin Limo in 2005. Lucky enough the girls are coming up really well. Hellen Obiri will win the 5000m gold for sure. We do not want to see this thing of being beaten by fellow Kenyans running for other countries.â
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