Three-time world 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop has attributed his dismal 6th place finish on the last day of the Olympic Games track programme on the absence of training-mate Elijah Manongoi.
Asbel clocked a disappointing 3:50.87 in the race won by American Matthew Centrowitz Jr. in 3:50:00. Algeria’s Taoufik Makhloufi took silver in 3:50.11, with New Zealand’s Nick Willis claiming bronze in 3:50.24.
The other Kenyan in the race, Ronald Kwemoi, finished last in 3:56.76.
Asbel said the absence of Manangoi affected team Kenya’s tactics. Manangoi bowed out of the event in the semi-finals after suffering an injury.
“Manangoi is always a team player and things would definitely have been different if he had been in the race,” Kiprop said.
“Under normal circumstances, Manangoi is a front runner while I like trailing from the pack. In the absence of Manangoi, the race was too slow and my effort to try and speed things up were countered by our rivals,” he added.
“This time, the race was too slow for my comfort and you can even see the winning time was 3:50. I am a 3:29 runner” he noted.
He explained that he started from the back hoping the race would be fast.
“However, when I realised that things were not changing, I tried to go in front in a bid to change the pace but I was blocked and pushed by Taoufik.
“Taoufik pushed me and this just messed up my tactics. I don’t blame him because that is how he is and people tend to apply all the bad tactics in a championship in a bid to win the race,” said Kiprop.
Kiprop said that he has his eyes set the London World Championships next year and after that, he will switch to 5000m at the Commonwealth Games.
“I intend to run my first major 5000m event at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia in 2018,” he said.