Faith Kipyegon shocked the world Wednesday morning when she defeated world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia in the women’s 1,500 meters final at the 2016 Olympics with an amazing final 200 meters. She won in a shocking 4:08.92.
This brings the number of gold won by Kenyans in Olympic Games Rio 2016 to three. The first one was won by Jemima Jelagat Sumgong, who won gold in the women’s Olympic marathon on Sunday in two hours, 24 minutes, followed by David Rudisha’s stunning win in the 800 metres on Tuesday.
Faith Kipyegon was immediately lauded by Kenyans in her effort to win Kenya the third gold, with President Uhuru Kenyatta saying on his twitter account, “Strong Finish. Very well fought and won Faith Kipyegon in the 1500m.”
Dibaba finished second in 4:10.27 and Jenny Simpson of the US won the first-ever medal for Team USA in the 1,500 meters by finishing third in 4:10.53.
Dibaba, who has struggled with injury this year, led with 200 metres to go but the 22-year-old Kipyegon forced her way past and drove for the line to win in four minutes 8.92 seconds and reverse the order from last year’s world championship final
The pace dawdled through the first 750 meters as the runners came through at a 76 seconds per lap pace, but then Dibaba roared to the front. Laura Muir of Great Britain stuck on her heel and Kipyegon was in her wake, and shockingly passed her with 200 meters to go.
Dibaba stunned with a 3:50.07 world record run in 2015 and has been the world’s dominant middle distance runner since. She raced to an easy win in last year’s world championships but was unable to win in Rio.