NAIROBI, Kenya:July 1 (Xinhua) — World 1,500m silver medallist Silas Kiplagat will be eying a third successive victory when the Diamond League resumes after a month’s break in Monaco on July 6.
Kiplagat, who is also the Commonwealth Games champion, is among the few athletes who have been cleared by the Athletics Kenya and National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) to compete abroad before returning home to focus on their Olympic preparations.
“I have one race in Monaco, which I expect to win and then return home to focus on the training for the Olympics,” Kiplagat said on Saturday in Nairobi.
Kiplagat, who is the Kenyan champion in the four lap race, however will be facing stiff challenge from New Zealander Nick Willis. The New Zealander broke his own 1500m national record, clocking 3:31.79 at the Herculis Monaco Meeting last year, finishing second behind Silas Kiplagat.
They both return to Monaco this year with Kiplagat targeting a third consecutive win and preferable another sub-3:30 time. Kiplagat holds the fastest time in the event this season having clocked 3:29.63 to win Doha Diamond League meeting in May ahead of World and Olympic Champion Asbel Kiprop.
He repeated the win in Nairobi during the Kenyan trials for the Olympics beating both Kiprop (to third) and Nixon Chepseba to second. The trio will be representing Kenya at the Olympics in London from July 27.
“I think Kenya is the team to beat in 1,500m race. We have the Olympic champion, the world champion, Commonwealth Games champion and Africa Champion. It will be hard of course, but we have the skills and ability to sweep the board,” said Kiplagat.
However, after finishing second to Kiprop in Daegu World Championships, in spite of beating him in the Kenyan trials then, Kiplagat is keen to come out of Kiprop shadows in London and hopes his performance in Monaco will greatly show where he lies in the scales in the distance. (Xinhua)