Asbel Kiprop in the mens 1500m Final at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Moscow 2013 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Beijing, China

Preview: men’s 1500m – IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015

On current form, Asbel Kiprop will be the man to beat as he looks to maintain his recent dominance over the distance and secure a hat-trick of world titles.

The 26-year-old, who impressively claimed the title in both 2011 and 2013, has enjoyed an outstanding 2015 campaign with his only defeat over 1500m or the mile this year coming back in May at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene.

The tall, slender Kiprop clinched mile victories in both Oslo and London, but perhaps most dauntingly for his rivals climbed to third on the world all-time list by producing the fastest 1500m seen for 14 years to win in Monaco in 3:26.69.

Kiprop may start as favourite, but there is no shortage of athletes prepared to wrestle the title from his grasp.

Leading the challengers is Olympic champion Taoufik Makhloufi, who appears to be returning to top form. The Algerian has raced sparingly this season, but ran a personal best of 3:28.75 to place second behind Kiprop in Monaco and has all the credentials to mount a strong podium threat.

Abdalaati Iguider of Morocco finished just four hundredths adrift of Makhloufi in that stunningly high-quality 1500m in Monaco and the Olympic bronze medallist has to be viewed as a threat.

Kiprop is joined on the Kenyan team by Silas Kiplagat, who will also have designs on gold.  The experienced Kiplagat won a world silver behind Kiprop four years ago and with IAAF Diamond League victories in Shanghai and Paris behind him, he has the quality to shine.

The Kenyan team is rounded out by the 22-year-old Elijah Manangoi, who made a huge breakthrough in Monaco, running a personal best of 3:29.67.

World indoor champion Ayanleh Souleiman – winner of IAAF Diamond League races in Eugene (mile) and Stockholm (1500m) – is another to be respected. The versatile 22-year-old from Djibouti grabbed a world 800m bronze in Moscow but he is fully focused on the metric mile distance in Beijing. 

Outside of Africa, US champion Matt Centrowitz looks well equipped to challenge. The 25-year-old claimed bronze and silver medals at the two previous editions of the World Championships and his confidence will be sky high after setting a PB of 3:30.40 in Monaco. He is joined on the US team by Olympic silver medallist Leo Manzano. 

Another athlete bang in form is 2008 Olympic silver medallist Nick Willis. The 32-year-old Kiwi possesses a smart racing brain and revealed his speed is better than ever by lowering his Oceanian record to record 3:29.66 in Monaco. South African Johan Cronje, the 2013 world bronze medallist, also competes.

Other athletes not to be overlooked include Ethiopian record-holder Aman Wote and his compatriot Mekonnen Gebremedhin, the 2012 world indoor bronze medallist.

The key European challengers are Turkey’s 2012 world indoor silver medallist Ilham Tanui Ozbilen, 2012 European champion Henrik Ingebrigtsen of Norway and Belgium’s Pieter-Jan Hannes, who ran an impressive national mile record of 3:51.84 to place third in Oslo in June.

Steve Landells for the IAAF