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How Shakira’s hit song inspired 3-time world record holder Faith Kipyegon

When Kenya’s multiple-track world record holder Faith Kipyegon takes to the starting line at the World Athletics Championships on Saturday, August 19, in Budapest, Colombian musician Shakira’s song Try Everything will be humming in her mind.

The song resonates well with the task ahead of Kipyegon, the double Olympic and world 1,500 metres champion, who will be defending her 1,500m title besides seeking the 5,000m top honours.

This is the first time Kipyegon, world record holder in 1,500m, 5,000m, and mile, will be doubling up at major championships.

Also read: Breaking Barriers: Faith Kipyegon dedicates new world record to all moms

“I just love listening to that song by Shakira since I draw a lot from it since one must try something out no matter how you fall short,” said Kipyegon, who hums some of the lines: “Birds don’t just fly, they fall down and get up; Nobody learns without getting’ it wrong; I won’t give up, no, I won’t give in; Till I reach the end, and then I’ll start again;

No, I won’t leave, I wanna try everything; I wanna try even though I could fail…” Kipyegon, who was due to fly out for Budapest at midnight yesterday alongside other members of Team Kenya, continued to sing: “Look how far you’ve come, you filled your heart with love; Baby, you’ve done enough, take a deep breath; Don’t beat yourself up, no need to run so fast; Sometimes we come last, but we did our best.”

Kipyegon said her target would be to first defend her world 1,500m title for a three-peat after her previous wins in 2017 London and 2022 Oregon before attempting the enchanted waters in the 5,000m.

The 1,500m heats will be held at 1.25 pm on Saturday, followed by the semi-finals at 5.05 pm on August 20, while the final will be staged on Tuesday, August 22.

The women’s 5,000m semi-finals will be staged on Wednesday, August 23, followed by the final on August 26.

“As I said earlier, I am introducing my legs towards the future hence I am going to try my best,” said Kipyegon, who acknowledged being under pressure to deliver in Budapest.

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Kipyegon said that she would be the person to beat in both races, especially after her world record exploits within a short period.

“That calls for me to work extra hard. I believe I have done my best in training under my coach in Kaptagat,” explained Kipyegon, who had her favourite meal of Ugali and Managu (traditional vegetables) accompanied by beat stew and mursik (traditional sour milk) before leaving for Nairobi.

Team up with youngsters

Kipyegon reckons that the country has strong teams in 1,500m and 5,000m hence Kenyans should pray for the team that things fall in place as planned. Kipyegon will team up with youngsters Nelly Chepchirchir, Edinah Jebitok and Purity Chepkirui in 1,500m while her team in 5,000m has world silver medallist Beatrice Chebet, 2019 world silver medallist Margaret Chelimo and Africa Games champion Lilian Kasait.

Kipyegon has achieved three world records since June; two of those marks, in the women’s 1,500m and 5,000m, are now officially in the record books. Her women’s mile record set in Monaco on July 21, is pending ratification.

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