Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon underlined her status as one of the all-time greats of distance running by sealing a historic 1,500m/5,000m double at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest on Saturday.
After claiming a third world 1,500m title on Tuesday, Kipyegon delivered another masterclass, this time in the 5,000m, to win her second gold in the Hungarian capital. The 29-year-old bided her time and produced a perfectly calm last lap for the win in 14min 53.88sec, her victory underlining her dominance this season, especially given that the field contained six of the 10 fastest women of all time.
Dutch rival Sifan Hassan claimed silver in 14:54.11, with another Kenyan, Beatrice Chebet, taking bronze (14:54.33). “This has been an amazing year for me,” said Kipyegon, the two-time Olympic 1,500m champion having this year set three world records in the 1,500m, 5,000m and mile. “Making history today, winning two gold medals in a championships is what I was dreaming for this season. I have been patient waiting to be able to break world records and win double golds. But my dream just came true, it is amazing.”
Kipyegon added: “I have been pushing myself to the limits and I will continue to push myself in the future. I believed in myself. I have been consistent, focused on the finish line and on writing history.”
Ethiopia’s 10,000m world champion Gudaf Tsegay shot out into the lead, splitting the field immediately. Teammate Ejgayehu Taye took up the front running as Kipyegon was surrounded by two of their teammates as the two distance powerhouses from east Africa worked on their race tactics. The Ethiopian surge eased, Kipyegon and compatriot Lilian Kasait Rengeruk moved to the front of the pack with eight laps left, Hassan sat three off the back.
Tsegay was back in front to lead the field with four laps remaining and once again spurted down the far straight, causing Hassan to move away from the absolute tailenders. Hassan was on Kipyegon’s shoulder as the bell rang for the final 400 metres. Stride for stride, they accelerated away, chased by Chebet, the rest of the field trying desperately to stay with the front runners.
Coming into the home straight, Kipeygon kicked, eyes fixed on the big screen situated just beyond the finish line, and held on for a fantastic victory. Reigning Olympic champion Hassan also capped off a successful championships, having rebounded from falling with the line at her mercy in the 10,000m to win this silver and a bronze in the 1,500m. Hassan said the championships in Budapest had “taught me a lot”.
“It has given me more confidence because I moved to the marathon this year and for two years I’ve hardly done any speed work at all,” she said. “How I was able to sprint at the end I don’t know. I really felt amazing on the last lap and it was only in the last 20 metres I couldn’t hold on. Faith was stronger than me today. She’s just broken world records and this year is better than me but I know where I am at.”
Canada’s Marco Arop foxed his rivals with a radical change of tactics and then poured on the pace to win a brilliant 800 metres gold. Normally a front runner, he kept his huge frame out of the picture, right at the back, through the first lap and, while the rest of the field were wondering, swept straight to the front at the bell and surged clear.
Arop, the bronze medallist last year, kept his foot down to win comfortably in 1:44.24. Kenya’s Emmanuel Wanyonyi took silver in 1:44.53 while 21-year-old Ben Pattison continued Britain’s great middle distance form at the championships as he held off Spain’s Adrian Ben to claim a surprise bronze in 1:44.83.
US men and women win
4x100m relaysUnited States men and women swept to 4x100m relay titles in the last two events on Saturday. Noah Lyles won his third gold of the championships after anchoring the US team. After claiming a first individual sprint double since Usain Bolt in 2015, Lyles mirrored the Jamaican legend in running the fourth leg to help take his team to the win in 37.38 seconds.
Olympic champions Italy, with Tokyo 100m gold medallist Marcell Jacobs on the second leg, claimed silver in 37.62sec, while Jamaica took bronze (37.76). Christian Coleman, the 2019 world 100m champion, led the US quartet off, handing over to last year’s 100m champion Fred Kerley.
Kerley’s baton exchange with third leg Brandon Carnes was almost botched, but the latter regained his rhythm and rounded the final bend for a perfect lay-off to Lyles. The 26-year-old scorched down the home straight, crossing the line with three fingers raised to signify his three medals he’ll take home from the championships in the Hungarian capital.
In the last event of the night, Sha’Carri Richardson added 4x100m relay world gold to her 100m individual title, anchoring the USA to a championship record time of 41.03sec in Budapest. Richardson was pressured by Jamaica’s 200m champion Shericka Jackson down the straight but she held her off with the USA’s arch-rivals taking silver in 41.21sec. Britain won the bronze in a time of 41.97sec. The USA quartet broke the Jamaican’s championship record that had stood since 2015 in Beijing.
The Jamaicans may come to regret omitting two-time Olympic 100m champion Elaine Thompson-Herah, who ran a cracking second leg in the heats on Friday. The Americans, though, were in command from the off and had a sizeable lead when Richardson took the baton from 200m silver medallist Gabby Thomas.
There was some consolation for Jamaican sprint legend Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce as she claimed her 16th world medal, to move one ahead of her retired fellow legend Usain Bolt. American icon Allyson Felix holds the record, with 20 medals.
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