Asbel Kiprop fired an early warning shot ahead of his World Championships title defence when he won the 1,500m race in Monaco in a Diamond League record time of 3 minutes 26.69 seconds.
Kiprop showed who the king is by setting a personal best and in the process came close to Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj’s world record by 0.69 seconds.
Kiprop, who floored Olympic champion Taoufik Makhloufi from Algeria and Moroccan Abdalaati Iguider to second and third places in 3:28.75 and 3:28.79 improved his previous personal best by 1.03 seconds.
Olympic and world 5,000m and 10,000m champion Mo Farah from Britain was no match for Kiprop, coming in fourth in 3:28.93 on a Friday night that belonged to Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba, who set a new world record in the women’s 1,500m after clocking 3:50.07.
It was during the 2013 Monaco where both Kiprop and Farah claimed personal bests in the 1,500m race. Kiprop floored Farah in 3:27.72 with the Somali-born Briton settling second in an area record time of 3:28.81.
But Kiprop’s compatriot Silas Kiplagat beat him at last year’s Monaco meet in a championship record time of 3:27.64.
This time around it was Kiprop who reigned to become the third fastest man in the metric mile race behind Hicham El Guerrouj, who set the world record of 3:26.00 at Rome in 1998 and Kenyan-born American Bernard Lagat, who won in 2001 Brussels in 3:26.34.
“Being the third fastest man in the history of 1,500m, joining El Guerrouj and Lagat as the only athletes to have ever run 3:26 is a humbling experienced…I see a dream coming true,” said Kiprop, who now wants to become the first man to complete a hat-trick at the World Championships after winning in 2011 Daegu and 2013 Moscow.
“What a race….! Asbel was the man of the night! But I am glad to run under 3.29 for the second time,” said Farah.
The night also saw Commonwealth and Africa 5,000m Caleb Mwangangi roar to victory in 3,000m as Tunisian Habiba Ghribi gave Kenyans Hyvin Kiyeng and Virginian Nyambura a warning in winning the women’s 3,000m steeplechase race with a meet record.
Mwangangi, who injured his leg when he tripped and fell during the 5,000m race in Lausanne on July 9, won in 7:35.13, beating Ethiopian Yenew Alamirew to second place in 7:36.39 as compatriots World 5,000m champion Isaiah Kiplangat 7:37.16) and 2008 Olympics 5,000m bronze medallist, Edwin Soi 7:37.85) came in third and fourth respectively.