World Champs Men’s 1500 — Cheruiyot Goes It Alone

Using Bayi-like frontrunning tactics rarely seen in a championship 1500, Timothy Cheruiyot led all the way in crafting an amazing solo sub-3:30 performance. (KEVIN MORRIS)

HE MAY HAVE WON the Diamond League 3 years running, but that’s not the same as a gold medal. In Doha Timothy Cheruiyot was looking for that piece of history that eluded him in ’17, when he finished 2nd to Kenyan teammate and training partner Elijah Manangoi. With the reigning champ grounded late by a bad ankle and replaced by Ronald Kwemoi, Cheruiyot faced a field in which his biggest threat might come from the kickers, men like Olympic gold medalist Matthew Centrowitz or European champ Jakob Ingebrigtsen.

The rounds were uneventful from Cheruiyot’s perspective; he made it through without a hint of trouble. In the semis the most notable casualty was Ethiopia’s Samuel Tefera, the indoor WR holder, who dropped out on the last lap after he lost contact. Americans Centrowitz and Craig Engels both qualified; Ben Blankenship fell short by just 0.14.

For the final Cheruiyot came up with a simple plan: outrun everybody. In a way it was not unlike what Sifan Hassan had done to the women’s field a day earlier… with one key difference. The competition tried to go with Hassan. Cheruiyot they just let go.

The 23-year-old Kenyan, never averse to leading, did not shock anyone when he immediately moved to the front, running the first 100 in 13.46, which would be his fastest segment of the race. Through 400m (55.01), his only close follower was Kwemoi (55.22). Centrowitz (55.80), who said beforehand that he was ready for a fast final, had moved into the bronze position in an effort to bridge what was starting to look like a 2-pack race. Running 4th at 56.00 was Taoufik Makhloufi, the London Olympic champion.

Cheruiyot’s next lap took just 56.73 (1:51.74). Kwemoi still stayed close at 1:52.12. Centrowitz’s grip was slipping, and he fell behind Makhloufi and was absorbed by the pack. And on the leader sped, through the kilo in 2:20.49, with Kwemoi dropping off. As Cheruiyot’s chasers hit the stretch, some 20m behind, they started doing their own calculations about whether they could catch him. Kicks were launched.

Cheruiyot confidently passed the bell in 2:34.54 and hit 1200 in 2:48.22, a 56.48 lap. Ready for anything, he launched his own kick, and by the last turn everyone knew he didn’t really need it. His gamble had turned into a rout. His last 400 took 54.87 as he crossed the line victorious in 3:29.26, the second-fastest winning time in meet history.

Makhloufi led the chase pack through the last lap and in the final 100 summoned enough strength for silver in 3:31.38, holding off the fast finishes of Poland’s Marcin Lewandowski (bronze in an NR 3:31.46), Ingebrigtsen (3:31.70) and Jake Wightman (3:31.87 PR). Centrowitz came in 8th at a U.S.-leading 3:32.81, Engels 10th in 3:34.24.

Cheruiyot explained his strategy, saying, “Today’s race went according to the plan of my coach. The target for the 800m was to run 1:51 and then 2:48 for the 1000m. I tried to push it on and I ran a little bit slower in the 400m, but I am happy with the result. The target was to run below 3:30. Since 2017 it has been a long journey. I won silver in 2017 and the Diamond League in the last 3 years. To be a champion is a long way, it requires discipline in training, listening to your coach. To be a champion you must train with the champions. I was training with Manangoi the ’17 champion. I am happy to be a champion.”


WC MEN’S 1500 RESULTS

FINAL

(October 06) (temperature 75F/24C; humidity 64%)

1. Timothy Cheruiyot (Ken) 3:29.26

(pace—13.46, 13.63 [27.09], 13.97 [41.06], 13.95 [55.01], 13.90 [68.91], 13.97 [1:22.88], 14.27 [1:37.15], 14.59 [1:51.74, 14.45 [2:06.19]; 14.30 [2:20.49], 14.05 [2:34.54], 13.68 [2:48.22], 13.51 [3:01.73], 13.64 [3:15.37], 13.89)

(55.01, 56.73 [1:51.74], 56.48 [2:48.22], 41.04)

(finish—13.89, 27.53, 54.72, 1:52.11);

2. Taoufik Makhloufi (Alg) 3:31.38

(13.48, 26.92, 54.41);

3. Marcin Lewandowski (Pol) 3:31.46 NR

(13.40, 26.81, 53.84);

4. Jakob Ingebrigtsen (Nor) 3:31.70

(13.61, 27.04, 54.55);

5. Jake Wightman (GB) 3:31.87 PR

(13.62, 26.98, 54.28);

6. Josh Kerr (GB) 3:32.52 PR

(13.99, 27.75, 55.13);

7. Ronald Kwemoi (Ken) 3:32.72

(13.93, 27.77, 55.91);

8. Matthew Centrowitz (US) 3:32.81 (AL)

(13.79, 27.61, 55.30);

9. Kalle Berglund (Swe) 3:33.70 NR

(13.29, 27.02, 55.33);

10. Craig Engels (US) 3:34.24

(14.25, 27.93, 56.39);

11. Neil Gourley (GB) 3:37.30

(15.93, 31.05, 59.49);

12. Youssouf Hiss Bachir (Dji) 3:37.96

(13.29, 27.02, 55.33).

HEATS

(October 03)

I–1. J. Ingebrigtsen 3:37.67; 2. Alexis Miellet (Fra) 3:37.69; 3. Centrowitz 3:37.69; 4. Wightman 3:37.72; 5. Lewandowski 3:37.75; 6. Amos Bartelsmeyer (Ger) 3:37.80; 7. Samuel Tefera (Eth) 3:37.82;

8. Adel Mechaal (Spa) 3:37.95; 9. Filip Sasínek (CzR) 3:38.17; 10. George Manangoi (Ken) 3:38.39; 11. Ryan Gregson (Aus) 3:38.69; 12. Abdi Waiss Mouhyadin (Dji) 3:38.79; 13. Hicham Oueladha (Mor) 3:39.86; 14. Abraham Rotich (Bhr) 3:45.19; 15. Lucirio Antonio Garrido (Ven) 3:52.93.

II–1. Cheruiyot 3:36.82; 2. Kerr 3:36.99; 3. Ben Blankenship (US) 3:37.13; 4. Filip Ingebrigtsen (Nor) 3:37.26; 5. Abdelaati Iguider (Mor) 3:37.44; 6. Kevin López (Spa) 3:37.62; 7. Isaac Kimeli (Bel) 3:37.87; 8. Bachir 3:37.93;

9. Kumari Taki (Ken) 3:37.98; 10. Jinson Johnson (Ind) 3:39.86; 11. Teddese Lemi (Eth) 3:41.32; 12. Musulman Dzholomanov (Kir) 3:45.07; 13. Matthew Ramsden (Aus) 3:47.59; 14. Paulo Amotun Lokoro (SSD) 3:48.98.

III–1. Ayanleh Souleiman (Dji) 3:36.16; 2. Makhloufi 3:36.18; 3. Berglund 3:36.19; 4. Gourley 3:36.31; 5. Engels 3:36.35; 6. Ronald Musagala (Uga) 3:36.54; 7. Kwemoi 3:36.66; 8. Jesús Gómez (Spa) 3:36.72; 9. Stewart McSweyn (Aus) 3:36.88;

10. Ismael Debjani (Bel) 3:39.11; 11. Jakub Holuša (CzR) 3:39.79; 12. Jamaa Mohamed Abdullahi (Som) 3:40.84 PR (WYL); 13. Abdirahman Saeed Hassan (Qat) 3:42.24; 14. Jach Majok Wol (SSD) 3:46.24.

SEMIS

(October 05)

I–1. Cheruiyot 3:36.53; 2. Makhloufi 3:36.69; 3. Gourley 3:36.69; 4. Engels 3:36.69; 5. Berglund 3:36.72;

6. Blankenship 3:36.98; 7. F. Ingebrigtsen 3:37.00; 8. Miellet 3:37.39; 9. Kimeli 3:37.50; 10. McSweyn 3:37.95; 11. Souleiman 3:38.35; 12. Lemi 3:38.79; 12. Souleiman 3:38.79; 13. Gómez 3:40.29.

II–1. Lewandowski 3:36.50; 2. Kwemoi 3:36.53; 3. J. Ingebrigtsen 3:36.58; 4. Kerr 3:36.58; 5. Bachir 3:36.72; 6. Centrowitz 3:36.77; 7. Wightman 3:36.85;

8. Ramsden 3:37.16; 9. Musagala 3:37.19; 10. López 3:37.56; 11. Bartelsmeyer 3:37.74; 12. Iguider 3:42.23;… dnf—Tefera.

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