Faith Kipyegon wins 1500m Olympic gold in Rio – VIDEO
Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon upstaged Ethiopia’s world record holder, Genzebe Dibaba, to sensationally bag a gold medal in the women’s 1,500m race that the Ethiopian appeared to control before being soundly beaten.
True to her word after qualifying for the final, Kipyegon delivered that special something that she had promised with a winning time of 4:08.92. Dibaba settled for silver in 4:10.27.
“I didn’t believe I could win but I thank God for helping me to win here in Rio. It’s my first Olympics and I’m so excited,” Kipyegon said.
The bronze medal went to Jennifer Simpson of the United States who finished strongly in a time of 4:10.92.
Going into the race, Kipyegon carried the weight of an expectant nation after her teammate, reigning Commonwealth champion teammate Violah Lagat, failed to get past the semifinal stage.
Just like she did in the semi final, Dibaba imposed herself on the race from the onset and it appeared she was headed for gold until the final lap bell went.
At the bell Dibaba made her move as she charged furiously towards the home stretch. But Kipyegon stayed right on the shoulder of the Ethiopian before unleashing a final burst of speed with about 300m to go.
She eventually caught and passed Dibaba as she coasted unchallenged for another gold medal for Kenya at the Rio Olympics Games.
On crossing the line, an emotional Kipyegon for a moment lay on the turf as her achievement sunk in.
On her strategy in the race she said she anticipated Dibaba to make her move in the final 800m and that she was well prepared to ensure that she gets a medal.
“The fast pace of the race worked for me and I was comfortable from the start because I knew it would be fast race,” she said.
“My coaches have been very helpful. The training they gave me is what has earned me victory today. I have worked so hard all through and I’m so grateful to be an Olympic winner,” she said.
Kipyegon’s gold is Kenya’s sixth medal at the Rio Games following in the footsteps of other gold medalists Jemima Sumgong (women’s marathon) and David Rudisha (men’s 800m).
Kenya has also has three silver medals courtesy of Vivian Cheruiyot (women’s 5,000m), Paul Tanui (men’s 10,000m), Hyvin Kiyeng (women’s 3,000m steeplechase).