NAIROBI, Kenya- Timothy Cheruiyot put together such a commanding performance in the men 1500m during the sixth leg of the 2017 IAAF Diamond League (DL) in Stockholm on Sunday night that left three-time world champion Asbel Kiprop with no choice but to sit up and take notice.
The man who is bidding for a fourth-straight title in at the London 2017 Worlds graciously took to social media to tip his hat to his compatriot who stormed to a world-leading 3:30.77.
In the process, the 2008 Beijing Olympic champion and the rest of the field were left in the shade.
“Last week I was 12 seconds away. Today I’m 3 seconds away to hit back again. Congratulations to Timothy Cheruiyot for enlightening the middle distance with a superb performance tonight.
“I’m glad to compete with new emerging talents year after year since I was a junior. Nothing is more pleasing than feeling at home in an event and profession you love. Moreover having back up from homeboys. #AthleticsForever,” a post on Kiprop’s Facebook page read in tribute.
The 21-year-old Cheruiyot finished seventh in the 2015 World Championships final where Kiprop last struck gold to hold on to the crown he took at the 2011 Daegu and 2013 Moscow editions of the global biennial track and field showpiece.
Cheruiyot earned greater reward as he took control of the race around the final bend, holding off the challenge of Bahrain’s Alsadik Mikhou, who was second in 3:31.49, and Ethiopia’s Aman Wote, third in a season’s best of 3:31.63 and just ahead of Kiprop, whose time of 3:33.17 was also a season’s best.
“I am very happy. I tried to go at 300m. I’ll go back to Kenya now and prepare for the World Championships trials. I will be really happy if I can make it to London. This was good preparation for this,” Cheruiyot told the IAAF.
After storming to shock victory over the Dream Mile at his home DL meet in Oslo, Norway wunderkind Jakob Ingebrigtsen (3:39.92) propped the field in what was a lifetime best at the distance.
Kenyans were handed a rare defeat in the men 3000m steeplechase where rising Moroccan, Soufiane Elbakkali dominated and finally soared to the water and barriers honours in 8:15.01 having finished second to Olympic champion, Conseslus Kipruto in Oslo.
Yemane Haileselassie of Eritrea led the challenger home in second, stopping the timer in 8:18.29 as Nicholas Bett ensured there would be a Kenyan in the podium when he clocked 8:21.98 for the bronze.
The Stockholm meet was headlined by the blistering performance of Canadian Andre De Grasse who took advantage of a huge following wind in Stockholm at the to run a faster 100m than he has ever previously managed.
De Grasse flew to 9.69 comfortably topping this year’s world list, albeit annulled for record purposes by the 4.8m/s of wind assistance at his back, way in excess of the allowable limit of 2.00m/s.
It was nevertheless a timely further boost for the 22-year-old Canadian, who took Olympic 100m bronze and silver over 200m, as he heads towards next weekend’s World Championships trials back home.
-Material from IAAF used to compile this report