It was guts to glory for Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon to clinch gold title in the 1500m heat. Two times world junior champion had to give everything she had to floor the world record holder Ginzebe Dibaba from the gold position, adding a third gold to Team Kenya. In a scintillating race action at Jao Havelange stadium in Rio, Kipyegon had her sweet revenge served in a gold platter to Dibaba. In the 2015 IAAF World Championship, Kipyegon would not even keep up with Dibaba, she was on beast mode, but Rio was a different stage and renewed mindset, strategy was in play, execution was nothing short of phenomenal.
The race began in a steady but slow pace, all athletes covering the first lap in 76 seconds. Kipyegon was hurdled in a group as Britain’s Laura Weightman took the lead in the first 400 meters. Dibaba dashed to the lead past the 800m mark setting the pace of the race while the group played catch up. The last lap bell ring was the cue for action for Dibaba, Kipyegon and Britain’s Laura Muir as they set a group gap with the rest. Up to the 1200m mark, 3.23minutes in, Dibaba had her eyes on gold; little did she know that tables would drastically turn. Super charged on the last 300m, Kipyegon sprinted forward past Dibaba. What a sight to behold, Dibaba Chasing down Kipyegon. The common joke in athletics is that chasing a Kenyan on the track is easy but catching up is where the real challenge sets in. Kipyegon cleared the last lap in a stuttering 58second. In a total time of 4:08:92 she took gold, Dibaba’s dynasty overturned settled for silver at 4:10:27 closely contested by America’s Jenny Simpson 4:10:52. Simpson made history too in earning her country’s first medal in a 1500m race.
Speaking to reporters at the end, Kipyegon was excited and showed a confidence beam, “I knew it would be a fast race, I really had to kick on the last lap. I was well prepared for the race and I’m proud to win for my country” Her gold medal adds team Kenya’s Gold tally to 3 and total medal tally to 6.
Ginzebe Dibaba still has the world record she achieved in Beijing 2015 of 3:50:07 dominant at middle distance running until today, the narrative has changed and the 22 year old Kipyegon might stun the world in the coming future. We wish her all the best in her quest for glory and make the country untouchable in the track and field sport.