Kipyegon charges to unprecedented double with 5000m victory

Budapest, (UNI) The battle for supremacy in the women’s 5000m was going to be a spectacular showdown between world record-holder Faith Kipyegon, Olympic champion Sifan Hassan and the defending champion Gudaf Tsegay.

Each of those three contenders had competed in at least one other event in Budapest, but this was going to be a final race for all three, a tactical one at that, and they each had a point to prove.

They also had to contend with a fourth strong competitor: world cross-country champion Beatrice Chebet.

The heats, which had taken place three days earlier, had given only a glimpse of what was to come. Chebet, the silver medallist from Oregon, and Tsegay had finished 1-2 in heat one, while Hassan pipped Kipyegon on the line in heat two, the International Athletic Federation sources said.

Unlike the heats, Tsegay – who was unbeaten this year and already claimed the 10,000m title earlier on in Budapest – hit the front from the beginning of the final, taking the lead for the first two laps to control the race.

Her Ethiopian teammate Ejgayehu Taye, the 10,000m bronze medallist, took over on the third lap, while Kipyegon found her way to third place, then started to dictate the pace of the race, her compatriots Chebet and Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi also positioning themselves near the front.

Moving from her signature position at the back, Hassan came through from the outside to stay on the shoulder of her Kenyan rival who had already beaten her in the 1500m a few days prior.

As the bell went off, Kipyegon started to unleash her trademark kick, with Hassan hard on her heels while Chebet followed closely in pursuit of a top-three finish as she went past a tiring Tsegay.

With 180 metres to go, Kipyegon switched gears, accelerating to a brilliant finish to drive down the line in 14:53.88, with Hassan coming through for silver in 14:54.11. Chebet took bronze in 14:54.33, nearly two seconds faster than her teammate Kipkemboi who settled for fourth.

Tsegay was a distant 13th (15:01.13). Taye was the first Ethiopian to finish, placing fifth in 14:56.85.

Kipyegon’s victory makes her the first woman to win gold in the 15000m and 5000m at the World Championships. Even more incredible is the fact that she had only run the 5000m five times before setting the world record back in June, also setting world records in the 1500m and the mile, all within a space of seven weeks.

“This has been an amazing year for me,” she said. “Making history today, winning two gold medals in a championship 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.”

“The race was not easy. It was a tactical one but I am mentally stable and have managed to push myself,” Kipyegon added.

Hassan, who was going for an unprecedented treble across the 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m, was consoled by her silver, one place higher than her position in the 1500m, having suffered a fall in the 10,000m final which denied her a medal.

“These championships have taught me a lot,” she said. “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. 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, but I know where I am at and I’m excited.”

“I will have to be sharper next year and prepare myself more for these shorter races. I am a very bad tactical racer. I hate it. I love racing too much. But tonight, I thought I’d see how I do in a tactical race and I felt amazing, especially over the last 400m,” Hassan said.

Chebet, 23, was grateful to make yet another championship podium.

“My second medal from the World Championships – could I ask for more?” she said. “In a final full of the greatest female distance runners in the world, I didn’t believe it would possible (to win a medal). The slow pace wasn’t the best tactic for me, because I am not so good at sprinting, but fortunately I managed to do it on the last lap.”

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