Faithful Kipyegon does it with a hard fought gold at the worlds

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Aug 08, 2017
  • Faith Kipyegon celebrates as she crosses the finish line in the women’s 1500m final at the world championships.(Photo by Getty Images for IAAF)

With six women having run faster than four minutes in 2017, the women’s 1500m at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 had been billed as one of the events of the championships. And so it proved on Monday.

Ultimately it was Kenya’s Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon who reigned supreme, upgrading her world silver from 2015 to gold in 4:02.59, 0.17 clear of US champion Jenny Simpson (4:02.76) and South Africa’s Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya (4:02.90).

Third coming down the home straight, Great Britain’s Laura Muir ultimately missed out on a medal by 0.07, clocking 4:02.97 for fourth.

"I thank God today, it was a good race in London,” Kipyegon said.

“It is such a high quality field. The best was going to win here.” With 200 metres to go, Kipyegon and the Netherlands’ world indoor champion Sifan Hassan – the fastest in the world this year with 3:56.14 – were battling it out at the head of a field, as Muir chased hard behind in third.

However, Olympic bronze medallist Simpson got it tactically right once again, passing Muir on the inside to win her third world 1500m medal after her gold in 2011 and silver in 2013.

Meanwhile, Semenya showed some of her 1:55.27 two-lap speed to also pass Muir – and a dying Hassan – just metres before the line, as 2015 world bronze medallist Hassan held on for fifth in 4:03.34. For Kipyegon, it was a far cry from her last experience in the London Olympic stadium.

At the Olympic Games in 2012 – fresh from her world U20 title – the then 18-year-old failed to qualify from the 1500m heats.

Fast forward five years and after a 43.66 second final 300m, Kipyegon is now the world champion, to go alongside her victories in last year’s Olympics and the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Defending champion and world record-holder Genzebe Dibaba came wide approaching the bell, attempting to challenge, but never really made her presence known, as Hassan and Kipyegon pushed on at the bell, chased by Muir and Simpson.

Dibaba looked a shadow of the athlete that clocked 3:50.07 in 2015, ultimately fading to 12th and last in 4:06.72.

Kenyans struggle

Kipyegon’s gold lifted Kenyans hearts after Aaron Koech was knocked out of the finals of the men’s 400m. The nation’s only contender who replaced his brother Nicholas Bett, the 2015 world champion could only manage 7th in 50.40 sconds behind American TJ Holmes in their semi final run who qualified in 49.12.

Mark Otieno’s 200m charge ended in the heats where he placed sixth in 20.74 in the second heat after his preliminary and 100m dash.

South African Wayde Van Niekerk’s prospects of securing a 200/400m double are looking even better after the 200m first round heats – while the world and Olympic 400m champion won easily.

As expected, Van Niekerk, in lane seven, was victorious, clocking 20.16 without over-extending himself. Botswana’s Isaac Makwala was forced to withdraw from the heats due to ill health. Makwala was one of several athletes attending the world championships believed to have been hit by food poisoining and gastroenteritis.

Compiled from IAAF