Landing | Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:20pm IST

Kiprop downcast over belated Olympic gold

ELDORET, Kenya (Reuters) - Kenya's new Olympic 1,500 metres champion Asbel Kipruto Kiprop says his pleasure and pride at being awarded the gold medal retrospectively has been tainted by the circumstances of his victory.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has stripped Bahrain's Moroccan-born runner Rashid Ramzi of the gold for doping at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Kiprop, 20, who was upgraded from silver to gold, said on Thursday he was not filled with joy.

"I don't feel happy in the way I should have felt," Kiprop told Reuters Television in an interview. "We cannot go back to Beijing again and recite the national anthem."

Kiprop urged the IOC and the International Association of Athletics Federations to conduct tests more quickly in future to avoid similar situations.

He also urged his fellow athletes not to take performance-enhancing drugs. "Let them run natural," he said.

Ramzi, 29, a former world champion over 800 and 1,500 metres, was one of five athletes disqualifed from the Beijing Games after frozen samples were re-tested and found positive for the banned blood-booster CERA last April.

"I was surprised to get silver. Having got this, it is something extra," Kiprop said.

The Kenyan is in training for 2010 and is also looking ahead to the 2012 Olympic Games, where he hopes to repeat his success and improve his time.

"I still have a long way to go," he said.

(Writing by Katie Collins; Editing by Daniel Wallis and John Mehaffey; To query or comment on this story email