Kipyegon’s Olympic Trials Shock: Can She Secure Olympics Spot?

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– Kipyegon starts track season at Nyayo Stadium.

– Aims for two tickets to Paris Olympics.

– Faces competition from Chebet, Chelimo, and others.

– Overcame muscle injury, missed Diamond League.

Faith Kipyegon, the reigning Olympic champion, is set to commence her track season at the Nyayo Stadium, where the Olympic trials will unfold over Friday and Saturday. With her sights set on securing two tickets to Paris next month, Kipyegon’s participation adds an element of anticipation to the event.

However, Kipyegon isn’t the sole athlete with aspirations of representing the country on the grand Olympic stage. Following her historic double victories in the 1500m and 5000m at the 2023 World Championships in Budapest, where she solidified her status as a world record holder, Kipyegon enters the trials with confidence, despite knowing she’ll face formidable challenges.

Kipyegon Tries 5,000

Last June, Kipyegon tested her ability to move up in distance when she competed in the 5,000 at the Diamond League meet in Paris. In only her third attempt at the distance (she twice ran it in 2015), Kipyegon admitted she simply wanted to lower her personal best and “just enjoy the 12 and a half laps on the track.” But she was shocked when she clocked 14:05.20, resetting the world record previously held by Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey. (The 5,000 record was again broken three months later by Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia, who lowered it to 14:00.21).

Kipyegon Rewarded

For her achievements of breaking two world records—in the 1500 and 5,000—in a week, Kenya’s president William Ruto gifted Kipyegon $35,000 and a house in Nairobi (which she now rents out). Two cakes awaited at her training camp, one for each record, and orange trees were planted in her honor, a camp custom emblematic of the fruits of one’s labor.

Kipyegon’s 5,000-meter mark motivated her to keep going. Two months later, at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, she competed in, and won, both the 1500 and 5,000.

Tough Competition

Among the contenders in the fiercely competitive 5000m field is Beatrice Chebet, who recently claimed the world 10,000m record. Chebet’s remarkable performance at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League saw her not only break the 29-minute barrier but also establish herself as the fastest Kenyan woman to hold a world record in the 10,000m event. Margaret Chelimo, Agnes Jebet Ngetich, and Edinah Jebet are among the other notable competitors vying for Olympic berths alongside Kipyegon.

Kipyegon Challenges

Despite her illustrious track record, Kipyegon has had to overcome setbacks in her preparation for the season, including a muscle injury that sidelined her from the initial legs of the Diamond League. Nevertheless, her determination remains unwavering as she sets her sights on Olympic success.

Beyond the individual events, attention also turns to the relay teams, particularly the 4x100m squad. Africa’s 100m record holder, who promises to deliver electrifying performances at the Nyayo Stadium, emphasizes the importance of collective effort in ensuring Kenya secures a relay team slot for the Paris Games. Reflecting on the past Olympics Trials and the missed opportunities, the relay team is determined to seize this chance and make their mark on the international stage.

While Kenyan teams fell short of qualification at the recent World Athletics Relay Championships, there remains hope that the presence of foreign athletes at the Olympic trials will bolster their chances. Inviting teams from Botswana, Uganda, and Southern Sudan, Athletics Kenya aims to create a competitive environment conducive to achieving the qualifying standards necessary for Olympic participation. With Paris Games scheduled for July 26 to August 11, 2024, the trials represent a pivotal moment for Kenya’s track and field athletes to showcase their talent and secure their places on the world’s biggest sporting stage.

Kipyegon Personal bests

EventTime (m:s)VenueDateNotes
800 metres1:57.68Doha, Qatar25 September 2020
1000 metres2:29.15Fontvieille, Monaco14 August 2020AR, 2nd of all time
1500 metres3:49.11Florence, Italy2 June 2023WR
One mile4:07.64Fontvieille, Monaco21 July 2023WR
3000 metres8:23.55Doha, Qatar9 May 2014
5000 metres14:05.20Paris, France9 June 2023WR until 17 September 2023
4 × 1500 m relay16:33.58Nassau, Bahamas24 May 2014AR

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