LONDON, England- The prospect of a first-ever podium sweep in the men 1500m at an IAAF World Championships is on the cards after the vaunted Kenyan trio- Asbel Kiprop, Elijah Manangoi and Timothy Cheruiyot- romped to the finals on Friday night.
The East African distance running giants however, lost a fourth man in the semi finals when struggling World Under 20 (junior) champion, Ronald Kwemoi, who staggered to the second round as a fastest loser ended his interest in the competition.
Just like the heats, Kiprop who is hunting a record-equalling fourth crown in the footsteps of his idol, retired Moroccan great Hicham El Guerrouj and Manangoi, the man he led to silver at Beijing 2015 who came to London as the world leader were drawn to compete together in the first semi.
Again, it was Manangoi, who posted the fastest time of the year when he won the IAAF Diamond League in Monaco in 3:28.80, who led the Beijing 2008 Olympic champion across the line in 3:40.10 against 3:40.14 as they put up another show of bromance.
Filip Ingebrigtsen (3:40.23) of Norway, Sadik Mikhou (3:40.52) of Bahrain and Spain’s Adel Mechaal (3:40.60) of Spain followed the Kenyan pair home to secure automatic tickets.
Timothy Cheruiyot, a finalist at Beijing 2015 Worlds and Rio 2016 Olympics semi finalist looked on track for a gun-to-tape win in the second semi until renowned fast finisher Jakob Holusa found space on the inside to take the win in 3:38.05 from the Kenyan in 3:38.24.
Kwemoi – who has been struggling with injury in recent weeks – went out by running 3:39.47 for ninth alongside former Norwegian.
Olympic silver winner, Marcin Lewandowski (3:38.32) of Poland, home athlete Chris O’Hare (3:38.59) who was cheered by Team Great Britain fans at the London Olympics stadium and Morocco’s Fouad Elkaam (3:38.64) finished 3, 4 and 5 to book automatic tickets.
Seasoned New Zealand medal machine, the Olympic bronze winner Nicholas Willis earned himself another attempt for the medals when he qualified as a fastest loser when he ran 3:38.68 for sixth.
-Material from IAAF used in this report