Kiprop: I will rise again
Former Olympics and world 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop has said he will be back on track in 2022 after completing his four-year doping ban.
Athletics Integrity Unit handed the celebrated Kenyan middle-distance runner the ban after testing positive for EPO early last year.
The police inspector who has resumed his training in Ngong promises to scorch the track once the ban is over.
“I never retired, I was accused of doping. I still maintain that it was a conspiracy and I can’t allow my career to be terminated by machinations,” Kiprop told People Sport recently.
Kiprop, who won his first major title in the Beijing Olympics in 2008, discontinued schooling in Form One to concentrate on athletics.
It is this sort of confidence that has catapulted the athlete from Simat, Uasin Gishu County, where he started running at a tender age of nine, to the global stage.
In 2007, at just 17-years-old, Kiprop shot into fame after he clinched the world cross country junior title in a stunning display in Mombasa.
The following year, he stormed to success in the Olympics and it was clear his athletics career was headed for greatness.
Although he finished second at the 2008 Olympic Games behind winner Rashid Ramzi, his silver was upgraded to gold after the Bahraini runner was stripped of the win for doping.
Today, Kiprop says he has been reflecting on the successes and challenges during his 17-year career.
“The doping storm is just a chapter in my career. I want to be an example; an athlete who hit rock and returned stronger,” he said.
Kiprop, who has since resumed his police duties, says he is responding positively to his training.
Winning the 2011, 2013 and 2015 world championships further cemented Kiprop’s international fame.
His fortunes, however, changed for the worse when he was accused of doping.
“Several friends, mostly, the big names in athletics left and have never returned. It is understandable because no one would wish to be associated with someone who is said to have doped,” Kiprop said.
“I pity friends who abandoned me during my lowest moment. Doping allegations can happen to me today and may happen to you tomorrow. Errors in testing occur and may happen to anyone,” Kiprop insists.
He said his father and mentor, David Kebenei, was disappointed by the report but later offered him a shoulder to lean on.
Kebenei represented Kenya in the 1987 All Africa Games hosted in Nairobi and finished fourth in the 1,500m race.
According to the athlete, his return may be marred by suspicions, but he is ready to prove critics wrong.
“My biggest challenge when I return is the feeling among my competitors when I win. They may just think I did not win it clean,” he said.
He says he will keep encouraging his younger brother, Victor Kipchirchir, who is also a 1,500m athlete to focus on his training.
Kiprop tells his fans across the globe to expect an enthralling book that will be titled ‘My father’s Shoes’ coming out in 2022.
In February last year Kiprop joined a Nairobi motorsports academy with the hope of honing a new sporting skill.