Kenya: On Form Kipyegon Sets 1500m National Record as Bell Ringer Messes Steeplechase

Nairobi — On form Faith Kipyegon beat off competition from 10,000m world record holder Sifan Hassan to win the 1500m race at the Monaco leg of the World Athletics Diamond League and set a new national record of 3mins, 51.07 secs.

Kipyegon, who will lead Kenya’s 1500m team at the Tokyo Olympics lowered her own record of 3mins, 56.82secs which she set in Shanghai in May.

“I knew Sifan was going for a fast race and my goal was to run a fast race here and I thank God that was,” Kipyegon said after winning the race in Monaco, regarded as one of the fastest tracks in the Diamond League circuit.

She added; “I am really looking forward to Tokyo and I know it will be a very hard competition but I hope to go there and defend my title.”

All race long, it was deemed to be a battle between Sifan and Kipyegon and it tirned out saw when both stepped on the track.

Hassan locked in behind the pacemaker from the beginning, her ambition obvious. Only Kipyegon and Ethiopia’s Freweyni Hailu dared to follow and the race was down to three when they reached the bell.

Hassan then turned the screws, but Kipyegon clung to her like a limpet down the back straight as the Dutchwoman stretched out her legs for the run home.

In the past three years races have inevitably gone Hassan’s way in this situation, her unmatched mix of speed and endurance proving irresistible. But not this time.

As they entered the final straight Kipyegon kicked hard, dashing past her rival and sprinting down the straight to win in 3:51.07, a Kenyan record and the fourth fastest time in history.

In the last 90 metres she put two-and-a-half seconds into Hassan, who finished in 3:53.60, with Hailu third in a personal best of 3:56.28.

-Cheruiyot lays case for Olympic inclusion

At the same time, Timothy Cheruiyot further put Team Kenya Olympic selectors in a more uncomfortable situation with a commanding display in the men’s race, winning in a new personal best time of 3:28.28 as four men dipped under 3:30.

Cheruiyot finished fourth in the national trials after twitching a muscle in the last 50m of the race and talk this week has been of his inclusion in the team at the expense of first timer Kamar Etyang who might be locked out on technicality.

The 19-year old Etyang has not completed the mandatory three out of competition tests required to be in the Kenyan team for the Olympics as a requirement by WADA and World Athletics.

Cheruiyot perhaps sent the strongest message to selectors to hand him a chance owing to his current form. The lanky Rongai Athletics Club star commanded the race from start to finish, his front running style putting him ahead of everyone else, paced by Timothy Sein.

He laid his marker in the final lap, and despite a strong chase from Spanish rising star Mohamed Katir to finish first while the latter took almost five seconds from his personal best to finish second in a new national record of 3mins, 28.76secs.

“Hopefully that will be the deciding performance to make the team for Tokyo,” Cheruiyot said after the race.

-Bell ringer messes up steeplechase for Kenyans

In the steeplechase, a mistake from the bell ringer spoilt what would have been a one-two finish for two of Kenya’s three athletes headed for the Tokyo Olympics; Benjamin Kigen and Abdraham Kibiwott.

The ringer sounded the ball with two laps to go other than with one and the two Kenyans thought they were headed for the final 400m and pumped up the pace. However, as Kigen, who was leading the race approached the bell, he had another sound and was devastated.

Kigen was confused and was torn in between standing and pumping up another powerful 400m but he realized he didn’t have enough gas and energy in his legs.

Kigen looked up in dismay and anger in his eyes and just jogged up for the final lap, same as Kibiwott.

Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma took advantage of the situation and seemed to have more adrenaline and energy in his legs, powering up past the dazed Kenyans. Kibiwott tried to catch up with him with a never say die attitude, but he fell just short.

He finished second in 8mins, 07.81secs with Girma winning the race in 8mins, 07.75secs.

Kigen finished seventh 8mins, 15.09secs.

In other results, Emmanuel Korir who is also in Kenya’s team to Tokyo finished second in the 800m after clocking 1min, 43.04secs, behind Botswana’s Nijel Amos who showed glimpses of his former great self.

Ferguson Rotich who is also in the Kenyan team to Tokyo was fourth in 1min, 43.57secs while in the women’s steeplechase, Hyvin Kiyeng beat Beatrice Chepkoech once again winning in 9mins, 03.82secs. Chepkoech, the world record holder timed 9mins, 04.94secs.


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Author : Capital FM

Publish date : 2021-07-12 12:51:26

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