Kipyegon stars in thrilling finish to win 1,500m gold

Kenya's Faith Kipyegon celebrating her world title after a frenetic sprint finish, with Jenny Simpson (right) and Caster Semenya (left) coming from behind to win a medal.
Kenya's Faith Kipyegon celebrating her world title after a frenetic sprint finish, with Jenny Simpson (right) and Caster Semenya (left) coming from behind to win a medal.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Kenya's Faith Kipyegon added the world title to her Olympic gold when she won the women's 1,500m final in a white-hot London Stadium atmosphere on Monday, judging her charge to perfection.

Kipyegon, silver medallist two years ago, took up the running with 600m to go and was stride for stride with in-form Sifan Hassan until the Dutchwoman faded while the Kenyan stayed strong to cross the line in 4min 2.59sec.

Jenny Simpson of the United States, the 30-year-old 2011 champion, also showed great track nous as she moved into the inside lane and finished like a teenage sprinter to take second at 0.17sec back.

South Africa's 800m specialist Caster Semenya also powered toward the line to grab the bronze in 4:02.90.

"I knew it would be fast, it is such a quality field," said Kipyegon, who won Olympic gold in 4min 8.92sec. "It was always going to be quick and competitive. I'm looking forward to celebrating this with my family."

Although Simpson did not win gold, she was satisfied with her silver medal and attributed her good performance to her coach.

"My coach has been telling me all day, 'Be willing to run your guts out and you'll be great', so I did exactly what she said," she said.

"The last 300 metres in particular I ran my guts out and it paid off. Having the experience is huge because having the ability to stay calm is so hard. To come out with a medal, I think it was down to keeping my wits about me."

Semenya, favourite to retain her 800m world title when the event's heats start tomorrow, said she had enjoyed her major championship experience of the longer distance.

"It's just the beginning for me, you'll be seeing more of me in the 1,500," she said. "I like the challenge and I think I can do better."

Semenya, whose entire career has been run in the spotlight of questions about her hyperandrogenism and the claimed advantage her high natural testosterone levels give her, was less happy to discuss that situation.

"I've no time for nonsense about medication," said the 26-year-old. "My focus is on being healthy and competing."

Ethiopia's defending champion and world-record holder Genzebe Dibaba looked short of fitness and finished last in 4:06.72.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2017, with the headline 'Kipyegon stars in thrilling finish to win 1,500m gold'. Print Edition | Subscribe