Faith Kipyegon
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Echoes of Henry Rono as Faith Kipyegon breaks four world records inside eight months

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Kenya's Faith Kipyegon celebrates after winning the women's 1500m race at the Paris Diamond league with a new world record on July 7, 2024.

Photo credit: Reuters

By breaking four world records inside 360 days, multiple Olympics, and world 1,500 metres, Faith Kipyegon of Kenya, has drawn comparisons with the late Henry Rono, who made history by breaking four world records in less than three months in 1978.

Kipyegon on Sunday shattered her own 1,500m world record at the Paris Diamond League, winning the race in a blistering three minutes and 49.04 seconds in the eighth leg of the Diamond League.

Kipyegon claimed the world record for the first time on June 2, last year in Florence, Italy, winning in 3:49.11, to erase the previous record of 3:50.07 set by Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba on July 17, 2015.

She broke her record at the same event where she smashed the 5,000m world record of 14:06.62, which had been set by Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey in Valencia on October 7, 2020, when the Ethiopian ran 14:05.20.

Kipyegon’s first world record came at the Florence Diamond League on June 2 when she broke Dibaba’s record before breaking the 5,000m world record a week later.

She clocked 4:07.64 at Monaco Diamond on July 21 to obliterate the previous One Mile record of 4:12.33 set by Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan at the same venue in 2019.

Faith Kipyegon

Faith Kipyegon after setting a new world record in the women's 1500m at Paris Diamond League on July 7, 2024.

Photo credit: Reuters

The legendary Rono, who died on February 15, this year broke four world records in 81 days during the 1978 season. He achieved the feat in 10,000m (27:22.5), 5,000m (13:08.4), 3,000m steeplechase (8:05.4), and 3,000m (7:32.1).

He also won gold medals in the 5,000m and 3,000m steeplechase at the 1978 Edmonton Commonwealth Games, as well as the 3,000m steeplechase and 10,000m at the 1978 Algiers African Games. Rono was fascinated by Kipyegon's record-breaking 2023 season.

The 30-year-old mother of one is preparing to stage a second defence of the Olympics 1,500m title in the Paris Summer Games that will run from July 26 to August 11 in the French capital city.

Kabisa! Hio ndio ndoto au lengo langu nikirudi mjini Paris kwa michezo ya Olimpiki(True! That is my dream and goal when I return for the Paris Olympic Games)," she said on Monday.

"Praying to God for good health considering that I have just recovered from an injury. God has been gracious,” she added. 

“I will absolutely do the double in Paris, in the 1500m and 5000m,” said Kipyegon. 

Faith Kipyegon

Kenya's Faith Kipyegon celebrates after winning the women's 1500m race at the Paris Diamond league with a new world record on July 7, 2024.

Photo credit: Reuters

On Sunday, Kipyegon took charge of the race after two pacesetters paved the way with 600m to go, just as Australia Jessica Hull had positioned herself a stride behind.

The early pace proved fast as Kipyegon covered 800m in 2:04, and the third lap in 60.8 seconds before she injected more pace in the race.

She kicked at the bell and opened up a gap over Hull, striding clear to win as Hull finished second in 3:50.83, smashing her Oceanian record to move to fifth on the world all-time list. Briton Laura Muir was third in a British record of 3:53.79.