Defending champion Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon added to a dream year that’s already included three world records by becoming the first woman to win three world 1500m titles after her victory at the World Athletics championships in Budapest, Hungary on August 22nd, 2023.
Kipyegon, who broke world records in the 1500m, mile and 5000m this season, paced the race and pulled away in the last 200 meters.
She clocked 3 minutes, 54.87 seconds, comfortably ahead of silver medalist Diribe Welteji of Ethiopia by 82 hundredths. Sifan Hassan took bronze, just as she did at the Olympics.
Kipyegon will later this week bid to become the first woman to sweep the 1500m and 5000m at one worlds.
Speaking afterwards in the mixed zone, Kipyegon said: “As the world record holder and defending champion you go to the front and control the race and just run your race. So I ran my race and it looked so easy.
“I was quickest through the 400m and I knew going to the bell I had to push harder and harder. This win has motivated me a lot now going (into the 5000m); I know everything is possible now.”
The Kenyan was already one of the all-time greats at the distance, having won Olympic gold in 2016 and 2022, along with world gold in 2017 and 2022. But this season she has shown that she can break records as well as win medals, having broken world records for the 1500m, mile and 5000m.
She opened with a 65.14-second lap, with Welteji, Muir and Ireland’s Ciara Mageean close behind as Hassan took up her usual position towards the back of the field. A 66.64-second lap followed, Kipyegon still at the front, with the same three athletes close behind her and the rest of the pack closely bunched up.
Kipyegon then started to wind up the pace and threw in a 60.63-second lap. It wasn’t enough to fully break up the field or drop her rivals, but it was enough to let them know that the real racing had started.
Kipyegon kicked hard as the bell sounded, opening up daylight between her and Welteji with 200 metres to go. Hassan, meanwhile, had moved up into third place, overtaking Mageean, Laura Muir and Kenya’s Nelly Chepchirchir.
But there was no catching Kipyegon as she moved into her top gear down the home straight, pulling away to win in 3:54.87.
It’s little wonder why she was uncatchable too; she had covered the final 800m in 1:59.83 – a time that has won world 800m titles in the past.
Welteji, who finished fourth over 800m at last year’s World Championships, this time claimed silver in the longer event, the 21-year-old crossing the line in 3:55.69 – her sixth sub-four-minute clocking of the season.
Hassan, meanwhile, held on for bronze in 3:56.00, redemption of sorts after missing out on a potential medal in the 10,000m on the first day of the championships.
Mageean finished fourth in an Irish record of 3:56.61, while 20-year-old Chepchirchir – who had impressed in the heats and semifinals – clocked a PB of 3:57.90 for fifth.
The next three women – Muir, Australia’s Jess Hull and Britain’s Katie Snowden – all finished inside four minutes.