Through strong Faith, God answers Kenyans' prayers

Gold medallist Faith Kipyegon celebrates after winning women's 1500m final at the World Athletics Championships, on Tuesday morning. [AP]

Faith Kipyegon delivered Kenya’s first gold medal to take the country’s medal tally to six at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon.

With her trademark kick, Kipyegon regained the world title on yesterday morning that she first won in 2017. She claimed an unprecedented fourth medal in the event. And Kipyegon indeed did something special, clocking 3:52.96, the second-fastest time on US soil after her own 3:52.59 at the Prefontaine Classic in late May on the same Hayward Field track.

“I was facing a lot of pressure,” said Kipyegon, the two-time Olympic champion in the 1500m. “Everybody was expecting something special from me. Everybody was like, ‘Faith, we believe in Faith,’ so it was a real pressure. But I managed it.”

After crossing the finish line, Kipyegon, 28, kissed the track and blew kisses to the crowd on ‘Women in the Spotlight’ day.

The fast-paced race saw Kipyegon and three other runners quickly leave the rest of the field behind with a first lap in just under 59 seconds.

“I’m so grateful to have won the gold medal,” Kipyegon said. “This was my big target. I did it. I was really looking forward to this championship. I was really, really prepared for this race.”

World indoor champion Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia was with her nearly every step until Kipyegon pulled away with about 300m to go. Tsegay took the silver in 3:54.52, upgrading from the bronze she won in 2019. She was also just a bit slower than she was at the Pre Classic, where she ran 3:54.21.

“I was expecting more from this race, but my opponents were more experienced and lucky so I have to be grateful for the silver,” said Tsegay, 25, who also will run the 5000m tomorrow.

Great Britain’s Laura Muir, in her fifth World Championships final, at last secured a medal, claiming the bronze with a season’s best of 3:55.28. Muir, 29, finished six seconds ahead of Ethiopia’s Freweyni Hailu, the largest gap in World Championships history between third and fourth.

Sofia Ennaoui of Poland ran a season best of 4:01.43 for fifth. The US placed two runners in the top 10: national champion Sinclaire Johnson was sixth, clocking 4:01:63, while Cory McGee was 10th with a time of 4:03.70.

The third Ethiopian runner, Hirut Meshesha was 12th in 4:05.86 after helping Tsegay push the pace for the first half of the race.

While the two Ethiopians controlled the early part of the race, Kipyegon stayed on their heels. Muir also clung to the lead group. “To be honest, I didn’t look at the clock at all the whole race,” she said.

“For me, it’s all about racing. It’s not about times. I’m really pleased I stuck with it and went with them and it paid off.”

 

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