The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Asbel Tops Race

OLYMPIC and World 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop powered his way to victory in the mile at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon over the weekend.

Kiprop had come to the event looking for a meet record but fell short, clocking 3:49.40. Ethiopia's Mekkonen Gebremedhin was second in 3:50.17, just holding off the 19-year-old Djibouti sensation Ayanleh Soulemain who finished third in 3:50.21.

Kenyan-born American Bernard Lagat struggled as he posted 3:54.28 to finish 14th. Africa senior 3,000 steeplechase champion Milcah Chemos posted a world leading time of 9:13.69 in her specialty to beat the Ethiopian pair of Sofia Assefa (9:15.45) and Hiwot Ayalew (9:15.84 ). Isaiah Kiplagat Koech came home second in the men's 5,000 meters losing out to world champion Mo Farah of Britain. Koech clocked 12.57.63 with Farah posting a world leading time of 12:56.98 in front of 12,000 screaming spectators. Reigning Olympic 5,000 meter champion Kenenisa Bekele came home third in 13:01.48

The 2009 world cross country champion Florence Kiplagat lost out to double Olympic World champion Tirunesh Dibaba in the 10,000m race. Dibaba won in 30:24.39 a world leading time with Kiplagat second in 30:24.85. The 21-year-old Beleynesh Oljira, also of Ethiopia, claimed the third spot in a personal best of 30:26.70. World 10,000m silver medallist Sally Kipyego suffered an embarrassing loss to Morocco's Mariem Alaoui Selsouli in the 3,000m. Selsouli posted 8:34.47 with Kipyego coming home second in 8:35.89 and Elizabeth Maloiy of USA finishing third in 8:50.95.

On the opening day Africa senior 10,000 meters champion Wilson Kiprop had led Moses Masai and Bedan Karoki in qualifying for the London 2012 Olympics. Kiprop claimed the victory in a world season leading time of 27:01.98 with Masai being rewarded with a 27:02.25 season best. Bedan Karoki claimed the third Kenyan Olympic slot in 27:05.50. Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge faded to 7th place (27:11.93). Kipchoge was perched on Masai's shoulder with a lap to go but ran out of gas. He will now have to focus on his 5,000m speciality if he hopes to make the Kenya Olympic team.

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