NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 8- Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon endured one of the most brutal 1500m races in recent history before coming out tops in a sprint finish, claiming victory at the IAAF London World Championships in a time of 4:02.59, picking up Kenya’s second gold medal.
The joy for Kipyegon was evident as she became only the third woman in history to win both the Olympic and World titles in the 1500m race.
With the commonwealth, World Youth and World Junior titles under her belt, the only feather missing from her decorated cap was the World Championship crown and she was determined to get it on a ground where she made her senior debut five years back in the Olympics.
“I knew it would be fast, it is such a quality field. The best was going to win here. It was always going to be quick and competitive. I’m looking forward to celebrating this with my family,” ” Kipyegon said.
Differing from fellow Kenyans who haven’t showed a finishing kick as good as it should be, the 23-year old won her first global senior title with a brutal final kick of pace to wade off Netherland’s Sifa Hassan who drifted all the way to finish fifth.
USA’s Jeniffer Simpson was second in a time of 4:02.76 while 800m Olympic champion Caster Semenya managed to knick away with a bronze in her debut in the race, clocking 4:02.90.
Reigning champion Genzebe Dibaba who qualified to the final as one of the six fastest losers seemingly continued her struggle as she failed to cope up with the electric pace, finishing bottom of the pile in 4:06.72.
Nothing seemed to separate the field of 12 women in the final until the midway mark when Kipyegon showed her intention, pumping up the pace ahead of home girl Laura Muir who had popped up to the front early enough.
Netherland’s Hassan who has the World Leading time this year and bronze medal winner from Beijing in 2015 wheeled away from the back to pump up the pace wheeling to the front, clearly setting her eyes on improving the color of her medal.
Kipyegon who has been in impressive form this season picked the cue and charged her batteries, increasing the speed to stay shoulder to shoulder with Hassan at the bell.
Heading in to the final 300m, the pint-sized Olympic Champion who won silver in Beijing tore apart from the leading pack that included Muir and Dibaba. Hassan followed suit, not letting Kipyegon off her shadow.
However, the Kenyan injected more pace to her drive, pulling clear at the home straight and from then, there was only one medal on her mind; gold. She sustained her breathtaking tempo crossing the finish line both hands in the air and sunk to the tartan in celebration.
Behind her, the fight for silver and bronze was as intense with Hassan loosing gas and USA’s Simpson getting the gas to pedal for a silver. South African Semenya managed to dip her head over the finish line in front of home girl Muir to pick bronze.
Winny Chebet who failed to qualify for the finals was waiting in tow on the stands to celebrate with her compatriot alongside coach Bernard Ouma who had blasted her speed-work during the two-week residential training camp in Nyayo and Kasarani Stadia.