Three-time 1,500m world champ targets Rio Olympics gold and starts preparations in Diamond League

THREE-time world 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop has started his quest for a second Olympic title in his career.

The tall-slender athlete got his first Olympic gold in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games after original winner Moroccan-Bahraini Rashid Ramzi was stripped off the title for doping.

Kiprop is now concentrating on getting a second title next year at the Rio Olympic Games.

Kiprop won his maiden international title at the 2007 All-Africa Games winning the gold medal in 1500m.

This season, he made his appearance at the fourth Athletics Kenya premium cross country championships two weeks ago in Iten.

“In order to get the title next year, I have to keep fit and that is why I participated in local meets,” Asbel said.

With six gold and one bronze track medals from international championships, Kiprop said he will start his rigorous build up in the Samsung Diamond League meetings.

“I intend to take part in the first meeting which I will use to gain speed and endurance,” Kiprop said.

“I am very determined,” he added..

Meanwhile defending champion Thomas Ayeko of Uganda and newly crowned European under-23 cross-country champion Louise Carton are the latest athletes to sign up for the Antrim International Cross Country, an IAAF Cross Country Permit meeting, on 16 January.

Ayeko was a convincing winner in Antrim at the start of 2015, making an early break before going on to win by 13 seconds. It was his second victory at the Greenmount estate, having also won in 2013.

Since then, he went on to set a half marathon PB of 1:01:12 in Azpeitia in March and then came within two seconds of that to finish fifth in a high-quality race at the Great North Run in September. More recently, he made his marathon debut with a 2:12:17 clocking in Rennes.

Carton has gone from strength to strength this year. The 21-year-old has smashed all of her PBs on the track in 2015 and last week defeated a quality field to win the under-23 title at the European Cross Country Championships in Hyeres.

In Antrim she will be lining up against 2013 world 10,000m bronze medallist Belaynesh Oljira and world junior cross-country bronze medallist Etagegn Woldu.

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