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Relentless Kiprop races to fastest time since 2004

Asbel Kiprop of Kenya leads the men's 1500m at the IAAF Diamond League athletics meet in Doha May 10, 2013. REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad
Asbel Kiprop of Kenya leads the men's 1500m at the IAAF Diamond League athletics meet in Doha May 10, 2013. REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad

(Reuters) - World champion Asbel Kiprop's relentless pace proved too much for his rivals, including Mo Farah, as the Kenyan clocked the fastest 1,500 meters time since 2004 at the Monaco Diamond League meeting on Friday.

With the world championships in Moscow just over three weeks away, world leads and minor records were set with seeming abandon on a still, warm evening in the Stade Louis II.

Kiprop pulled ahead of the field shortly before the bell and raced away to win in three minutes 27.72 seconds to make him the fourth fastest man of all time over the distance.

Britain's Olympic 5,000 and 10,000 meters champion Farah said before the event that he was dropping down to the shorter distance to work on his speed and the move paid off as he was dragged round in a European record of 3:28.81.

"I'm definitely pleased, training has been going pretty well," the 30-year-old, who goes sixth on the all-time list, told the BBC.

"The aim was to come out here and work on my speed. It would have been nice to get closer to Asbel but he's got another gear and he kept stretching away," added Farah who plans to move up to the marathon next year.

Controversial sprinter Justin Gatlin won the men's 100 meters, which was run against the backdrop of last weekend's revelations that leading sprinters Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell had failed dope tests.

American Gatlin, who served a four-year doping ban from 2006, got a great start and won in 9.94 seconds, in a race missing world-record holder Usain Bolt, to show he is likely to be the Jamaican's main contender in Moscow.

Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast put herself in the mix for the world 200 title after blasting out of the blocks and holding off American Tiffany Townsend and Olympic 100 meters champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce for victory in a national record of 22.24.

Farah would have watched the 5,000 meters, for which he is world champion, with interest as Kenyan Edwin Soi ran the fastest time of the year, 12:51.34, to beat the Briton's meeting record set in 2011. Former Kenyan Albert Rop, now competing for Bahrain, was second in an arena record of 12:51.96.

Time is running out for world and Olympic 100 hurdles champion Sally Pearson, who is still a way off her best after returning from a hamstring injury last month.

The Australian faded badly over the last three hurdles to finish fifth behind American Queen Harrison who won in 12.64.

Olympic silver medalist Brigetta Barrett treated the crowd to a dance routine after clearing 2.01 first time in the high jump which was enough for victory.

Renaud Lavillenie of France dominated the pole vault competition, securing victory with a Diamond League record and world-leading 5.96 meters, 18 centimeters higher than American Brad Walker in second.

(Writing by Alison Wildey in London; Editing by Clare Fallon)

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