Kenya’s Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon completed in style a brilliant hat trick of international medals as her overwhelming victory today comes after last year’s World Youth 1500m gold medal and the World Cross Country Junior medal also managed on the Spanish soil of Punta Umbría, where she ran barefoot.
Holder of a 4:03.82WJL coming to Barcelona, the diminutive Kenyan had already announced a very brisk race at the Worlds’ official press conference and Kipyegon made clear today she was not joking there.
Ethiopia’s World Youth silver medallist Senberi Teferi made the very early pace but Kipyegon unleashed a first change of speed just before the 400m point which was covered in 1:06.86.
The Kenyan opened a 10-metre margin over the rest of the field in a matter of a few strides but she was soon reeled in by Teferi, her fellow Kenyan Nancy Chepkwemoi and Serbia’s reigning European Junior champion Amela Terzic.
The 800m point was hit in 2:14.99 with Teferi in the lead closely followed by the two Kenyans and Terzic. Exactly 920m into the race Faith again moved to the front powerfully still with Teferi, Chepkwemoi and Terzic still in close attendance.
The bell marked the decisive movement of the race as Kipyegon opened full gas to break away from her chasers effortlessly. Teferi travelled in second some 300m remaining but the long-legged Terzic passed her over the home stretch to finally secure silver way behind Kipyego who broke Dong Liu’s 20-year-old Championships record in a blistering 4:04.96 time.
In addition to her silver medal Terzic was rewarded with a national record and PB of 4:07.59 while Teferi also set a career best of 4:08.28 to capture bronze.
Behind Chepkwemoi in fourth, there was a cascade of six further career bests topped by World Junior 800m silver medallist Jessica Judd’s 4:09.93 for fifth.