"I was running after history, I succeeded": the queen of athletics Kipyegon is not done

Faith Kipyegon struck again. The Kenyan became, Tuesday, August 22, the first woman in history to be three times world champion of the 1,500 m. And this, without suffering from competition. Already on top of the world, Kipyegon still has a chance to expand his record in the 5,000m, which everyone imagines him winning hands down.

Faith Kipyegon is enjoying her gold medal in the 1500m at the 2023 World Championships in Budapest. REUTERS - MARTON MONUS

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Faith Kipyegon is like fate, implacable, inevitable. At the start of the 1,500m final on Tuesday 22 August at the World Championships in Budapest, many had tried to build suspense around this race, with the possibility of seeing the Dutch Sifan Hassan tickle the heels of the Kenyan. This was not the case. The latter conquered world gold over the distance for the third time, she is the first to achieve this feat.

The best runner in the world at the moment, Kipyegon is on a cloud in 2023 and continues to garnish a rich list of achievements. "I was chasing history today, and I succeeded," she said. After gold at the 2017 and 2022 Worlds, silver in 2015 and 2019, two Olympic titles in 2016 and 2021, the champion has further enriched her collection. This is evident after taking the world records this year in the 1,500m (3'49''11 in Florence on June 2nd), the 5,000m (14'05''20 in Paris on June 9th) and the mile (about 1,616m, 4'07''64 in Monaco on July 21st).

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Without seeming to force, she set a steady pace and then gradually accelerated, no one being able to follow her in the last lap, to cut the line in 3 min 54 sec 87, far ahead of her Ethiopian runner-up Diribe Welteji, who confirmed, at 21 years old, her great talent with a first international podium.

A harvest of medals to continue

Exploits made even more beautiful by his career. Kipyegon, originally from Chebaraa in central Kenya, put her career on hold to give birth to her daughter Alyn in June 2018 and then return to the top. "I know what women go through after maternity leave. They think it's the end of their lives. I want to prove them wrong," she told AFP in June at her training camp in Kaptagat, where she runs with marathon legend Eliud Kipchoge.

With his Dutch rival Sifan Hassan, there was no duel. Staying at the back of the group for most of the race, the Dutchwoman settled for bronze. The two champions will meet again in the 5,000m, where Kipyegon will once again be the overwhelming favourite.

Sifan Hassan (left) and Faith Kipyegon (right) congratulate each other after the 1,500m final. REUTERS - ALEKSANDRA SZMIGIEL

Note that the series, initially scheduled for Wednesday late morning, have been moved to the early evening by World athletics, facing the stifling weather conditions of the Hungarian capital (about 35 degrees).

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  • Athletics
  • Kenya