Peerless Kipyegon wins battle of world record holders in race for Paris Games tickets

Faith Kipyegon wn the 5, 000m finals during the National Trials at Nyayo stadium. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

1,500m Olympic champion and world record holder Faith Kipyegon began her 2024 season in blistering fashion clocking 14:46.28 at the Kenyan Olympic Trials held at Nyayo Stadium on Friday to book her place in the women’s 5,000m to the Paris Olympic Games.

Kipyegon held off 10,000m world record holder Beatrice Chebet, who was keen on beating the world champion over the distance, but slacked off in the last 800m to finish with a time of 14:58.39, just enough to get her Olympic slot. Margaret Chelimo finished third in 14:58.39.

Kipyegon who trains alongside Eliud Kipchoge, Geoffrey Kamworor, Daniel Mateiko at their Global Communications camp in Kaptagat under the watchful eye of Patrick Sang was happy to sit at the back of the pack in the early stages of the race before a sudden surge saw her propelled to the front.

With 5000m ticket in the bag, Kipyegon who won gold medal each at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the 1,500m will be back in the field on the final day of the trials on Saturday in search of 1500m slot to enable her to double in Paris Games that is slated for July 26 to August 11, 2024.

Brimming with excitement, Kipyegon announced her season was up and running.

"I’m so excited to to return to action after an injury, I am in good shape, this is the result I wanted and I’m glad I did well. Having Beatrice and Chelimo in the team will definitely make a strong squad going to Olympics,” she said.

On her part, Chebet said: “I’m really satisfied with result. I can confidently say I’m going for a double in Paris. Having Faith is a big boost and we will deploy team work to ensure we get into podium. Meanwhile, I will focus on speed endurance for the remaining weeks so that I can remain in top shape.

" I am yet to fully recover from the race in Eugene where I set the new 10,000m word record, but I am happy that I was able to compete here today in the 5,000m race despite not having fully recovered from the tough battle in Eugene," Chebet said.

Faith Kipyegon wn the 5, 000m finals during the National Trials at Nyayo stadium. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

The 5,000m bronze medallist became the first woman to dip under 29 minutes when she set a new 10,000m world record at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting last month as she clocked 28:54.14.

Kipyegon also won a gold medal in the 1,500m at the 2017, 2022 and 2023 World Athletics Championships and in the 5,000m at the 2023 World Athletics Championships.

In the 1500m, world record holder Kipyegon will likely face light challenge as she face, Edinah Jebitok, Nelly Chepchirchir, Miriam Jerop, Winny Chebet, Susan Ejore and Nyahururu-based Mary Ekiru as her main challengers on Saturday.

Women’s 5000m finals

1 Faith Kipyegon, 14:46.28

2 Beatrice Chebet 14:52.55

3 Margaret Chelimo 14:59.39

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