Kipyegon: Ethiopians had a plan, but I was well prepared

Faith Kipyegon

Faith Kipyegon of Team Kenya cross the line to win the Women's 1500m Final on day four of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 at Hayward Field on July 18, 2022 in Eugene, Oregon.


Photo credit: Patrick Smith | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Eventually, the lady from Keringet came out through lane two to kick and peel away after the bell to arouse palpable emotion inside the stadium.
  • “I tried many times to overtake her and she blocked me with the hand but I knew I had to go really hard in the last 300 metres. I knew if the championship record was to go here, I was the one to lower it,” Chepng’etich added.

In Eugene, USA

Even with Team Kenya decidedly not at their best here in Eugene there is one runner who was certain to deliver: Faith Chepng’etich Kipyegon.

The middle-distance runner, as expected, beat a tough 13-woman field to reclaim her 1,500 metres title in the early hours of Tuesday at the ongoing World Athletics Championships on the US west coast.

The 28-year-old responded to every question from her Ethiopian threats in the affirmative to produce a well-measured race and claim her second world title in a time of three minutes and 52.96 seconds at Hayward Field stadium.

“I am so grateful, I am really happy. I was really looking forward to defending my title in 2017 and yeah, I have the flag of Kenya,” said a smiling Chepng’etich wearing a bright face after the race.

“To tell the truth, I had pressure. But I thank God,” she remarked.

“I really thank my coach, my management, I thank my husband, my daughter as well for the support,” she said.

“It’s (victory) also for my daughter. Since I gave birth to her, she gives me joy. She gives me strength to work harder.”

Her feat earned Kenya their first gold medal at the 18th Worlds in Oregon, concluding a beautiful Day Four for the nation which had begun with Judith Korir picking marathon silver in Springfield and Conseslus Kipruto later taking 3,000m steeplechase bronze.

Kenya spent the night in Oregon in third place on the medal standings with six medals -- three silvers and two bronze.

Hosts USA led with 16 medals, six of the gold while Ethiopia has six medals but there are three golds and as many for silver.

The two-time Olympic champion Chepng’etich did not have former world champion Dutch girl Sifan Hassan in her way as was the case at the previous edition in Qatari capital Doha in 2019.

Even so, Chepng’etich had to craft perfection to beat her rivals in Olympic silver medallist Laura Muir of Great Britain plus the Ethiopian cast of Gudaf Tsegay, Freweyni Haile and Hirut Meshesha.

“Ethiopians were three in the race and all were training mates and I knew they were planning something special. But for me, I was well prepared,” she reacted.

World indoor champion Tsegay is a well-known front runner and expectedly, she set blistering pace at the start and immediately, she had taken Meshesha and Chepng’etich with her way ahead from the rest of the pack.

Muir, who has struggled with back and hip problems this season, would later join the trio upfront.

The high pace pulled them further away, crossing the 400m mark in a blistering 55.12 seconds.

At 800m, the clock read 1:07.96 and Muir went past Meshesha to settle in third.

Chepng’etich attempted to go ahead towards the bell but Tsegay appeared to push her aside.

Eventually, the lady from Keringet came out through lane two to kick and peel away after the bell to arouse palpable emotion inside the stadium.

“I tried many times to overtake her and she blocked me with the hand but I knew I had to go really hard in the last 300 metres. I knew if the championship record was to go here, I was the one to lower it,” Chepng’etich added.

Tsegay got silver in 3:54.52 while Muir claimed bronze in 3:55.28 - Great Britain’s first medal at the championship. Kenya’s Winny Chebet finished 13th.

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