By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2022 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
EUGENE, Oregon (18-Jul) — Double Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon of Kenya streaked to her second World Athletics Championships 1500m title here tonight at Hayward Field beating back a furious first-lap assault by Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay and running the second-fastest time ever at a World Athletics Championships: 3:52.96.
Kipyegon, 28, moved up from her second place finish in Doha in 2019 when she was handily beaten by Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan. Read more: Men’s 3000m steeplechase full results; Soufiane El Bakkali gets gold – World Championships 2022
Tsegay, who won the silver medal tonight in 3:54.52, scorched through the first 400 meters in 58.9 seconds which immediately split the race in two. Only her 21 year-old teammate, Hirut Meshesha, and 2021 Olympic silver medalist Laura Muir of Great Britain were brave enough to follow. Kipyegon was not fazed by Tsegay’s tactics.
“Actually, I was expecting that,” Kipyegon told Race Results Weekly. “I knew she’s a front-runner. So, it’s not something scary for me, but I was looking forward to a fast race here in Oregon.”
Kipyegon briefly took the lead 700 meters into the race, but Tsegay went in front again, splitting 800m in 2:03.2 seconds. The Kenyan continued to follow her Ethiopian rival right to the bell and was happy with the way the race was going.
“I knew what I was going to do, just enjoy the race, just enjoy following that lady because I knew she’s very fast,” Kipyegon continued. “She doesn’t like staying at the back; she likes staying in the front.”
On the backstretch of the final circuit, Kipyegon finally showed her cards and she wasn’t bluffing. She powered away from Tsegay to win by more than a second and a half.
“I knew I’m not a front runner, but I’m going to follow her and I won,” she said.
Muir, 29, decided to ignore the clock and just run from the gut. She was hurting, but was determined to get a medal.
“I didn’t realize what the splits were,” she told reporters. “I knew after the first couple of hundred meters that, OK, this is going to be fast.” She continued:
“I’m just going to race it and not think about times, just stay in contention as long as possible, just hope that would be enough to cross the finish line in a medal position.”
Indeed, it was. The searing pace had sent the young Meshesha all the way back to 12th place by the finish, and nobody was close enough to threaten Muir’s hold on third place. She finished in 3:55.28, the third-fastest time of her career, to bring home the bronze medal.
“I was definitely hurting when I crossed that line,” Muir said, breaking into a smile.
Sinclaire Johnson of the USA and Jessica Hull of Australia finished sixth and seventh in 4:01.63 and 4:01.82, respectively. The two athletes train together under coach Pete Julian at the Nike Union Athletics Club in nearby Portland. Johnson was running in her first World Athletics Championships (Hull in her second) and the 24 year-old knew the early pace was going to be hot, but not that hot.
“I wish I would have had the guts to go with it,” she told Race Results Weekly with a laugh, “but I fought hard out there today. “I honestly don’t think I could have done anything differently.”
POS COUNTRY ATHLETE MARK
1 KEN Faith KIPYEGON 3:52.96
2 ETH Gudaf TSEGAY 3:54.52
3 GBR Laura MUIR 3:55.28 SB
4 ETH Freweyni HAILU 4:01.28
5 POL Sofia ENNAOUI 4:01.43 SB
6 USA Sinclaire JOHNSON 4:01.63
7 AUS Jessica HULL 4:01.82
8 UGA Winnie NANYONDO 4:01.98
9 AUS Georgia GRIFFITH 4:03.26
10 USA Cory Ann MCGEE 4:03.70
11 ESP Marta PÉREZ 4:04.25
12 ETH Hirut MESHESHA 4:05.86
13 KEN Winny CHEBET 4:15.13
PHOTO: Faith Kipyegon, Guday Tsegay and Laura Muir at the bell of the 1500m at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Ore. (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)