old Sheila Chepkirui, of Kenya, won a tense battle with Japan’s Yuriko Kobayashi and stopped the clock in a championship record 4:12.29.
Chepkirui overtook Kobayashi with 300 metres to go after the Japanese had set the pace from the start.
Kobayashi refused to give in and was never more than a stride or two behind until Chepkirui’s pace told on the final turn. Kobayashi had to be content with silver in a personal best time of 4:13.96.
The field had been spread out early on as Kobayashi took charge and posted a first-lap split of 65.29, always a few metres ahead.
With two laps to go, the eventual gold and silver medallists, together with Ethiopia’s Bizunesh Urgesa Mohammed, were slowly but surely moving away from the rest.
On the third lap, the Ethiopian was dropped but managed to hold on to bronze with 4:19.34.
The first five set personal bests, including Japan’s Iino Maya, who was fourth with 4:23.06, and Sudan’s Amina Bakhit, fifth in 4:23.13.