Kipyegon on track to defend 1,500m women gold title
Olympic 1,500m women defending champion Faith Kipyegon breezed through her heat during the preliminaries yesterday morning at the Olympic stadium in Tokyo to remain in contention for the medal.
In tomorrow’s semifinals, she will be joined by compatriots Winny Chebet and youngster Ednah Jebitok, who needed a successful appeal after a dramatic tumble to progress.
The Olympic champion clocked 4:01.40 to win heat three on Monday to extend her winning streak from the Monaco Diamond League last month where she produced the fourth fastest time in history 3:51.07, which is also a Kenyan record.
“Being the preliminaries I am very pleased with my performance,” said Kipyegon.
“It’s not about individuals,” answered Kipyegon when asked about her rival World champion Sifan Hassan.
“From here it is about concentrating on my own race because I have my own targets. We shall she what happens in the finals,” deadpanned the 27-year-old.
Kipyegon’s victory also keeps alive a mouthwatering clash pitting her and Olympic treble chasing Hassan who she beat at Monaco Diamond League.
Hassan secured a semifinals berth in heat two despite a tumble after Jebitok in front of her tripped.
The dutch athlete majestically went on to clinch victory in 4:05.17. Hassan was due to race in the women’s 5,000m final later on Monday, she will also compete in the women’s 10,000m final.
A successful appeal, saw Jebitok cleared for the semis after she to failed catch up with the leading group finishing 12th in the heat.
Chebet, the Africa champion placed third in the opening heat after clocking 4:03.93 – won by Gabriela Debues-Stafford won the race in 4:03.70.
Meanwhile, Sifan Hassan recovered from a dramatic fall to win her 1500m heat and keep her pursuit of an unprecedented Olympic treble on track.
The Dutchwoman is bidding for a medal in that event as well as the 5,000m and 10,000m in what would be a first.
At the start of the final lap of her 1500m heat in Tokyo, she tumbled after tripping over Kenya’s Edinah Jebitok, who had just fallen in front of her.
She swiftly picked herself up and came from 11th to reach the semi-finals.
The 28-year-old had little time to recover as she had races in the 5,000m final later on Monday.
Hassan has won world titles in the 1500m and 10,000m, with a bronze in the 5,000m.