Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon won the fourth straight girls’ 1500m title for Kenya but her’s was certainly the most impressive.
Packing a lot of power into her tiny frame, Kipyegon ran at the front of the pack for the vast majority of the race, reaching the finish in 4:09:48, taking nearly three seconds from the Championships record set by her compatriot Sheila Chepkirui in 2005.
“When I was young I felt one day that will be a champion,” said Kipyegon, who earlier this year took gold in the junior race at the World Cross Country Championships last March.
At the lead from the outset, the 17-year-old went through the first 400 metres in just over 64 seconds, with Ethiopians Senbere Teferi, Genet Tibieso and her Kenyan teammate Sheila Chepngetich Keter.
Hoping to turn down the pace a few notches, Teferi took the lead briefly as they approached 800m (2:12.66), but apparently more comfortable at the front, Kipyegon quickly regained control.
She and the two Ethiopians broke away from Keter at 1200m and just as it appeared the Ethiopian pair were preparing to pounce, it was Kipyegon who shifted gears and began her long sustained kick towards the finish. Increasing her lead through the final turn and into the home strength, the Kenyan never faltered, maintaining her stride and rhythm. She was simply unstoppable.
Teferi’s efforts were rewarded with silver in 4:10.54, with Tibieso completing an Ethiopian 2-3 finish in 4:11.56, personal bests for both.
Georgia Peel of Great Britain, who was the only runner to try to maintain contact with the leading four at the bell, crossed the line in fourth clocking 4:16.36, also a persona best. Camille Chapus of the USA passed a badly fading Keter just a couple steps before the line in 4:17.12, also a personal best.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF
- Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon of Kenya during the Girls 1500 metres qualification - WYC Lille 2011 (Getty Images) © Copyright