Commonwealth champion Faith Kipyegon caused the blood of the world record holder Genzebe Dibaba to boil as she came first in the women’s 1500m title in 4:08.92 to earn her third gold for the country at the Olympic Games in Rio early Wednesday morning.
The win now makes Kipyegon the world’s fastest. At the beginning of the race, Dibaba, who has suffered injury this season, led with 200 to go but Kipyegon unleashed her fastest pace, reaching for the line to win in four minutes 8.92 seconds and reverse the order from last year’s world championship final.
The Kenyan runner’s bold burst in the second half of the race left Ethiopia’s world record holder Genzebe Dibaba, settling for the second place.
“It was an amazing race,” Kipyegon told reporters. “I needed to focus for the middle because I knew Genzebe is so fast and I really had to kick on the last lap.”
Pundits and commentators from all over the world have referred to Kipyegon’s win as a revenge for the previous defeat, as she lost to Dibaba in the world championship last year in Beijing. And from her reaction, the medal meant a lot to her.
As you know, Dibaba held on for silver, with American former world champion Jenny Simpson taking bronze.
Another American, Shannon Rowbury, dominated the fourth place, suffering more frustration after being cheated out of a medal four years ago when she came sixth.
In the 2012 event in London, which was dubbed the “Dirtiest Race in History,” six of the nine finishers, including the gold and silver medalists were found guilty of doping offences before or after the race.
Winner Asli Cakir Alptekin is also banned for eight-year for being found positive on doping tests for the second time while fellow Turk Gamze Bulut, who had improved her personal best by an eyebrow-raising 18 seconds, is also on suspension.
There was also some issues this season that saw the arrest of Jama Aden, Dibaba’s coach in June, following an anti-doping raid, though the Ethiopian has never failed a test.