1500m MEN : THERE IS A NUMBER ONE ONLY, AND IS ASBEL KIPROP
After the bad and strange Olympic final, somebody started to speak about “Kenyan without their widespread doping are not competitive”.
Of course, for who really know the situation, and knows that the article of the German Journalist was something build as a “scoop” more than referred to the reality, this was a ridiculous explanation.
Already last year Kenyan specialists were the best, but were destroyed with big training mistakes during the training camp, not showing personality for refusing the training of the head coach instead following their normal strategy. During the 4 weeks of training camp, they worked only more with very short speed forgetting every type of specific endurance, and for that reason there were injuries (like in the case of Asbel Kiprop) and no ability to recover after two rounds (Chepseba and Silas Kiplagat).
This year, the situation was different, essentially because Asbel learnt to run in more clever way, and was totally fit.
The race went different from the Kenyan strategy, since Silas Kiplagat didn’t follow the previous plan, remaining in the group without collaborating. So, Asbel Kiprop went immediately in front, at very comfortable pace (59.68). Immediately after, Nixon Chepseba became the leader, running at the same pace (800m in 1:59.24), but Asbel didn’t follow, remaining 10 meters behind for obliging somebody else to close the gap.
At the end of the first lap, Matthew Centrowitz went immediately on Asbel’s side, while Cronje and Moustaoui were behind, with Silas Kiplagat outside, running every lap about 8-10 meters more.
Chepseba remained in front till 1200m (2:56.41), when Asbel and Centrowit closed the gap. At that point, Silas Kiplagat and Gebremedhin were in positions 8 and 9, outside, and when they started to move had to overtake other athletes trying themselves to move in second lane. For that reason, Kiplagat had to run almost in third lane during the last turn, when already there was fast speed.
Asbel took the head with 150m to go, without pushing too much. He started to kick in the last furlong only, and suddenly opened a gap with the chaser runners. Matt Centrowitz, once again, was able to use his kick, but especially his ability to read the competition, for a wonderful 2nd place, which gave him the first medal of his career, probably not the last.
A big surprise came from the South African Johan Cronje, who was able to find the right passage for overtaking Chepseba in the last two meters, winning a bronze medal totally unexpected before the race.
As in Olympics, Silas Kiplagat, this year never in really good shape, ran very bad, without personality, continuing to do the same tactical mistakes, accepting very slow races when he doesn’t have the ability to manage these situations. If Silas continues to do mistakes like this and to have confusion in his training, instead becoming a number one at the same level of Asbel, how already showed possible in the past, risks to fall down to a mediocrity that can penalize his future career.
What else about Asbel ? This year he’s more mature than in the past, and also more serious in training. Since he has more talent than all the other specialists, and is still young, we can suppose he can continue, without too many problems, to dominate the event till Rio 2016. And, in the meantime, can try to attack the WR of El Guerrouj : this year, the first time he tried to run really fast, immediately went to 3:27.71, with a split at 1200m better than the splits of Hicham.
He must reach consciousness about the pace to use for the WR, and of course has to try not once only, but I think, before Rio, can succeed in this attempt.
Behind Centrowitz, who confirmed to be a great racer for Championships, we want to remember Henryk Ingebritsen, the European Champion again in the final with his 8th place, after his 5th Olympic position.
Running without rabbits makes races very different, and always there are runners particularly talented in tactical races (especially who use high frequency and are not too tall) able to create some surprise.
800m WOMEN : THE ONLY SURPRISE AMONG THE EVENTS OF MIDDLE DISTANCE
If we waited already the most part of races in WCh could be very slow and tactic, in the previews regarding 800m (men and women) we clearly knew the races had to be very fast, if in the final there were Duane Solomon and Alysia Johnson Montano.
In the men race, this punctually happened. And in the women race, the development was the same, with the difference that among men the pace was fast but the best were all together, while today Alysia escaped in crazy way, earning more than 15 meters of advantage after 500m, after splits of 26.08 (200m) and 56.06 (400m), with Eunice Sum in 2nd position in about 57.8 and Savinova in 5th position in about 58.5, followed by Brenda Martinez.
Mariya Savinova never lost a Championship in the last years. She wonEuropean Indoor 2009, World Indoor 2010, European 2010, World 2011 and Olympic 2012. Always she used a very clever way of running, having learnt from Borzakovskiy a correct distribution of energies.
However, this year she didn’t have the same training of the past, and before WCh competed two times only, without interesting performances.
Behind Alysia Montano, always in front but clearly slowing down, Savinova started her progression, and with 100m to go it seemed possible to win again.
At first, Eunice Sum, still 2nd, went to overtake Alysia, and immediately Savinova did the same. But, when it seemed she could go for gold, Eunice Sum had a very strong reaction, again earning two meters to the Russian, for going to win a Gold unexpected also for Kenyan themselves.
Who is Eunice Sum ?
Born on 2nd September 1988, she started running only in 2007, pushed by Janet Jepkosgei, World Champion that year, her neighbor in the same village.
Eunice has a perfect morphology : tall 174cm, with long legs e good relaxation while running, is about 52 kg, not too thin like Janet.
They have the same coach, the Italian Claudio Berardelli, who is also the coach of Alfred Kirwa Yego (WCh 2007 in 800m) and of Nancy Lagat (Olympic Champion 2008 in 1500m).
Last year, she supposed to have better chances in 1500m, and in that event went to OG, without reaching any particular good result.
This year, she looked at 1500m during the first part of the season, till June, improving her PB with 4:02.05 in Doha (10th May). But at international level Eunice understood her competitiveness didn’t allow to look for a medal, so started to intensify her training of speed looking at 800m in Kenyan Trials, where she won in 1:59.3 on 13th July.
After this, her training was focused to WCh only, and she arrived Moscow conscious to have some possibility of medal, since the field this year seemed not strong like in the past (without Jelimo, Semenya, Nyonsaba and, last minute, Janet Jepkosgei too).
Her improvement was amazing, running 1:57.38 when never was able before to go under 1:59.0.
She is a worthy World Champion, and in the future can still grow in both the events, because I think can be a mistake to forget 1500m, where she can run under 4:00.00 creating the base of specific endurance useful for increasing the quality of training for 800m too.
Due to her crazy behavior, Alysia Johnson Montano at the end remained with nothing in her hands, because Brenda Martinez overtook her for bronze medal in the last meter (1:57.91 vs. 1:57.95).
Which differences between Alysia and Brenda ?
The first, born on 26th April 1986, is an athlete preferring training for speed. This winter, for example, she ran 24.41 in a competition of 200m indoor in Albuquerque, and has a PB in 400m of 52.09 in a small Italian meeting, so we can suppose her real value is very close 51.0. For that reason, she always preferred to start very fast, trying to kill the other with a first lap at high speed.
Her PB is 1:57.34 from 2010, while the PB in 1500m, events she ran very few times, is a insignificant 4:28.43 from 2009.
This attitude, and her training, can explain why she never is able to have a strong finish, always slowing down in the last furlong.
Brenda Martinez (born on 8th September 1987) instead is athlete having in the aerobic power her best attitude.
This season she ran 4:00.94 in Monaco for the 3rd position (19th July), and even 15:30.89 in a mixed race of 5000m in Pasadena (8th June).
For that attitude, and her type of training, she was able to finish very fast the last 100m, winning bronze medal.
However, also if Martinez and Montano today had a best placement, the real American hope for the future in this event in the junior Ajee’ Wilson, born on 8th May 1994, who bettered the American Junior Record with 1:58.21, after winning World Youth Championships in 2011 and World Junior Championships in 2012.
Also if she has good speed, naturally has a very strong aerobic base, how demonstrated by her PB for 3000m : 10:13.41 (nothing of special but…. In 2007, when she was only 13 !).
For that reason, I think Ajee’ Wilson can be a big shot for Gold medal in the next Olympic, going already for something important in 2015, when WCh will be in Beijing.