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Bronze two years ago, fourth last year, and and now silver. In an event that seems leaves us guessing, Matt Centrowitz has been a model of consistency. World class consistency.
Asbel Kiprop goes from last in London to first in Moscow with a performance that reaffirms his place as the best 1500m athlete in the world. The biggest surprise comes from Johan Cronje, who snuck on the inside in homestretch to grab bronze for South Africa.
Immediately following the gun, the towering Kiprop assumed the lead. A modest 59.68 first lap had no big impact on the field. Centrowitz sat calmly in the middle.
Before 800m, we saw what we thought was going to be Kenayâs team tactics. Nixon Chepseba made a very bold move to the front and gapped the field by nearly 15m. He passed the 800m mark in 1:59.24 with Kiprop leading the chase pack. Centrowitz sat on the Kenyanâs shoulder.
There wasnât much change for the next quarter-mile, which was a bit concerning. Had the pack given Chepseba too much room? For Team Kenya, wasnât Silas Kiplagat supposed to take the lead on the third lap and push the pace to avoid a kickerâs race? The latter hadnât happened, but the pack has gained on Chepseba. It would once again be a blazing last lap in the menâs 1500m final. The fans in the Luzhniki Stadium anxiously watched as the group hit the bell at 2:42.73.
It was an interesting three 1500m races in Moscow for the â11 Daegu bronze medalist. Centrowitz didnât look incredible in his quarter-final, showed his grit and championship savviness in the semifinal, and all of a sudden, looked poised to return to the podium in the final. With 200m to go, everyone was gathering for their final attack, but still there were no big moves. Chepseba, Kiprop, and Centrowitz.
With no medal positions sorted out, the final 100m was a bit chaotic. Silas Kiplagat swung wide to make his bid, Mekonnen Gebremedhin went with him, and Kiprop began to pull away in lane two. Centrowitz intelligently followed in Kipropâs jet-stream and had a clear path to the podium. Chepseba, who was in lane one, had begun to fade and left enough room for Cronje to make an inside pass and grab bronze.
Kiprop, Centrowitz, Cronje.
By Mitch Kastoff