Kiprop stays in contention of retaining his title
Olympic1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop stayed in contention of retaining
his title by qualifying into the semi finals at the Olympic Games in
London on Friday night.
With the first six from each of the opening round’s three races moving
on automatically into sunday’s semi-finals. The Kenyan advanced easily
after his third place finish in the first heat.
The heat was won by 24-year-old Algerian Taoufik Makhloufi who,
presumably to avoid any potential trouble in the homestretch fled from
the tight pack with about 250 metres to go and won in 3:35.15.
Makhloufi, a semi-finalist at the 2009 and 2011 World Championships,
improved his performance by knocking more than two seconds from his
career best to 3:30.80.
Ethiopian Mekonnen Gebremehdin, who moved into second at the bell,
held that position across the finish line clocking 3:36.56 just ahead
of Kiprop in 3:36.59.
Ross Murray of Great Britain (3:36.74), Mohamad Al-Garni (3:36.99) of
Qatar and American Leo Manzano (3:37.00) took the next three positions
to move on.
Commonwealth Games champion Kenya’s Silas Kiplagat settled for the
fourth place in the second heat by also booked a semi finals berth in
a sluggish pace of just under 2:01 at 800 metres but much closer.
Mohammed Shaween of Saudi Arabia prevailed in the end in 3:39.42 to
post his season best, just ahead of quick-finishing Qatari Hamza
Driouch who clocked 3:39.67, in turn just 0.03 ahead of Turk Ilham
Kiplagat (3:39.79), Canada’s Nathan Brannen ( 3:39.95 ) and Andy
Baddeley (3:40.34) of Great Britain were next across the line to
attain their automatic tickets into the semis.