Of the fifteen fastest 1500m runners this year, only eight are going to be lining up on August 30th at the world championships in Daegu, South Korea. With a maximum of three athletes per country allowed to enter, Kenya will be leaving home many of the world’s best performers from the year. Other absentees include Abubaker Kaki (Sudan), and Bernard Lagat (USA) who will be focusing on other distances (800m and 5000m respectively), also Ilhan Ozbelin (formerly William Tainui Biwott) who must wait a year after changing his national allegiance to Turkey.
With my 3m31.79s run at Monaco in July, I will be going into Daegu as the third fastest entrant. I went into the Beijing Olympics as the twelfth with 3m33.51s.
My main competitors to watch out for are:
Silas Kiplagat (Kenya): World-leading time in 2011 of 3m30.47s, and a personal best of 3m29.27s. Has won his last three competitions comfortably – The Kenyan trials, and the Monaco and Stockholm diamond league 1500m’s in which I was 4th and 3rd respectively
Asbel Kiprop (Kenya): 2008 Olympic Champion, with a season’s best time of 3m31.76s. Kiprop has been 2nd in 5 races this year, with his sole victory being in the Oslo Mile back in early June. Considered by many as the most talented 1500m runner in the world, but is vulnerable to mental lapses in races, where he slips back in the field on the third lap, only to come home strongly again, but too late for the win.
Amine Laalou (Moroco): Winner of the Paris Diamond League this year in 3m.32.2s, whereas I was 4th. With a best of 3m.29.6s, and 1m43.1s in the 800m, Laalou has the range to handle any type of race – fast, or sit and kick. He hasn’t raced since July 8th, so his form is a little unknown going into Daegu, but the Kenyans expect him to be a major threat in the final lap. He perhaps, is the co-favorite along with Silas Kiplagat.
There are also two very good Ethiopians, Derresse Mekonnen and Mekonnen Gebremedhin, but they haven’t been at their best in their recent respective races. Also you can’t count out Leonal Manzano (USA), Manuel Olmedo (Spain), and Jeff Riseley (Australia) who all have great finishing kicks.
The above mentioned athletes (bar Laalou and Olmedo) were in my last race – The Stockholm Diamond League on July 29th.
I am excited to be heading off to Hong Kong in two days to put the finishing touches to my training. These three weeks back home in Ann Arbor have gone really well. Going to church, hanging out with old friends, enjoying the Michigan summer, and throwing the frisbee for Tempo have been welcome breaks from the competition mentality I had to maintain for a month while racing in Europe. With three good 16-mile long runs under my belt, and some key speed-work sessions under Ronnie’s watchful eye, I am feeling fit and fast. Getting to the start line healthy and in good headspace is now the final challenge, and then it will come down to racing. This season has already provided so many wonderful experiences, and I would not have been able to be where I am without the continued support of Sierra, Ron, and my training partners. Hopefully many of you reading this will be able to tune in to watch the races live on Aug 30th, Sep 1st, and Sep 3rd (the final). They are being shown on Sky in NZ, and on NBC/Universal Sports in the U.S.