Asbel Kiprop, Olympic 1500m champ, responds to doping reports

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Kenyan runner Asbel Kiprop, the 2008 Olympic 1500m gold medalist and three-time world champion, reportedly said he hopes to prove “he is a clean athlete” after reports he tested positive for the banned substance EPO, according to British media.

“I have read the reports linking me to doping,” Kiprop said and posted on a Kenya track and field WhatsApp group on Wednesday, according to reports. “As an athlete, I have been at the forefront of the fight against doping in Kenya. A fight I strongly believe in and support. I would not want to ruin all what I have worked for since my first international race in 2007. I hope I can prove that I am a clean athlete in every way possible.”

Kiprop, 28, has been the pre-eminent 1500m runner of the last decade. At 19, he finished second in the Beijing Olympic 1500m but was upgraded to gold a year later after Bahrain’s Rashid Ramzi failed a drug test. He is the youngest Olympic 1500m medalist of all time, according to the OlyMADMen.

Kiprop went on to earn three straight world titles in the 1500m in 2011, 2013 and 2015, matching the feats of retired legends Noureddine Morceli and Hicham El Guerrouj.

He struggled in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, finishing last in the London final with a hamstring injury and sixth in the Rio final won by American rival Matthew Centrowitz.

“So many emotions running thru me regarding the Kiprop news,” was posted on Centrowitz’s Instagram story. “So much I wanna say. Best I collect my thoughts/emotions on this flight & speak on it later.”

Kiprop has targeted El Guerrouj’s world record of 3:26:00, missing the mark by .69 of a second in 2015.

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