As expected African runners dominated the men’s 1500m race at the IAAF / VTB Bank Continental Cup here in Split although it wasn’t Olympic champion Asbel Kiprop who came out on top.
The 21-year-old Kenyan set the pace from the bell going through 400m in 57.13 and 800m in 1:56.80 but the lanky Diamond League winner failed to respond when team-mates Mekonnen Gebremedhin (ETH) and Amine Laalou (MAR) took control with 500 metres to go.
Gebremedhin held the slightest of leads over Laalou with the rest of the pack led by USA’s Leonel Manzano and European champion Arturo Casado of Spain working hard to stay within reach.
While Kiprop was fading back to fifth, Laalou maintained his position on the shoulders of Gebremedhin, the Moroccan confident his superior kick would eventually make the difference. And so it was, Laalou clocked 3:35.49 ahead of Gebremedhin’s 3:35.70 scoring big for team Africa.
Manzano, who set personal bests in his last two races, secured third position in 3:36.48 scoring 6 points for Team Americas while the European pair of Casado and Andrew Baddeley took fourth and fifth both ahead of a fading Kiprop, whose performance will not count for the team standings.
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF