• Cruising Asbel Kiprop is the New 1500m World champion

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Sep 03, 2011-

Asbel Kiprop finally ended Kenya's gold medal drought in the 1500m at the World Athletics championships out sprinting his compatriot Silas Kiplagat in Saturday's race at the Daegu stadium.

In the last lap the tall, lanky runner strode past Kiplagat the commonwealth champion, with about 100m remaining to win his first global gold on track.His gold chain dangled on his neck as he crossed the finish line raising a victorious finger to salute his sterling run in 3:35.69.

After two previous unsuccessful attempts at a championship medal in Osaka and Berlin for holding his kick until the last lap, the Olympic and African champion changed tact and stayed at a touching distance as early pace-setter Nicholas Willis of New Zealand guided the field through the first two laps in 1:00.02 and 2:01.71 respectively.

The Kenyan was awarded the Olympic title after the winner Rashid Ramzi of Bahrain tested positive for a banned substance.

Kiplagat eased home second in 3:35.92 with Matthew Centrowitz bagging the bronze for team US 3:35.92 in the absence of the champion from Berlin Bernard Lagat. Pre-race favourite frenchman Mehdi Baala finished way off in ninth.

"It was a fantastic race and it worked out my way. I am excited to have won the gold which we have been chasing for so long.I knew competition was tight so I couldn't risk running from the back and I learnt hard lessons in Osaka and Berlin..," said Kiprop relieved after out running his compatriot Kiplagat who defeated him in the Kenyan trials in July.

"I know Silas very well. He beat me in the Kenyan trials. I am grateful I managed to hold him all the way."

The 22 year old Kiplagat, who has ran the year’s fastest time of 3:30.47 rued his chances of having lost Gold in what would have been the perfect end to a fantastic season.

"I look a little bit disappointed because the man who got the gold medal is the man I usually beat,"conceded Kiplagat.

"He started his final sprint earlier than I expected. I fought and fought but I could not reach him. Today is his, tomorrow will be mine. For 2012, I must get the gold medal."

Kiplagat who has had a fantastic season having won the Diamond league race in Stockholm heads off to Zurich before racing with World champion David Rudisha in Milan while Kipropp will also race in the two lap race in Brussels.

On Sunday, the last day of competition defending champion Kenya's Abel Kirui will lead his teamates-Vincent Kipruto,Eliud Kiptanui,Benjamin Kiptoo and David Barmasai Tumo in the men's marathon looking to match the women's team feat in the 42km race.

Kiptoo the 2011 Paris Marathon champion is the fastest man in the field with 2:06:31 and will be looking for a better race after dropping out in 2009.

Eliud Kipchoge, Isaiah Koech and Thomas Longosiwa in the 5000m and Janeth Jekosgei racing in the 8 will close Kenya's chase for medals at the Daegu stadium track  later in the day.


 Evelyn Watta in Daegu

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