Kenya’s star Abel Kipsang set a new Olympic record today as he raced to the final of the 1500m.
Kipsang posted 3:31.65, winning the second semi-final ahead of Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen who recorded 3:32.13 and Britain’s Josh Kerr who finished third after registering 3:32.18.
Kipsang broke the Olympic record of 3:32.07 previously set by another Kenyan Olympic champion Noah Ngeny who won gold medal in Sydney, Australia twenty years ago.
Kipsang said he was running his own race and did not know he was going to set a new Olympic record.
“I anticipate running an even faster race in the final,” said Kipsang after the race.
World champion Timothy Cheruiyot also made it through to the final after finishing third in his heat posting 3:33.95. However, it was a disappointment to another Kenyan Charles Simotwo who missed to secure a place in the final after finishing sixth in 3:34.61.
Great Britain’s Jake Wightman took the lead in the heat by registering 3:33.48 as Cole Hocker of the USA took the second position in 3:33.87. Oliver Hoare of Australia came fourth in 3:34.35 and Ignacio Fontes of Spain clinched the final qualifying spot in 3:34.49
On the other side, the World Athletics boss Seb Coe said that Kenyans can still shine in the Men 3000m Steeplechase despite not winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics.
“Steeplechase is still your event, but be careful as other countries are quickly learning the tactics and winning races that you did not expect them to win. The show though is good for athletics and I am impressed with the good show by the athletes here in Tokyo,” Coe said.
Coe further pointed out that the athletes have faced difficult times due to the Covid-19 pandemic but he was impressed with them for overcoming adversity and giving their best.
“You can see there have been very good show by athletes. It makes me very happy when I see athletes setting new world records, area records and even setting new personal best times,” said the former Olympic champion.