One week after smashing the 1500m world record, Faith Kipyegon has set another record in 5000m, clocking 14:05.20 after a terrific duel with Letesenbet Gidey (the world record holder before Friday 9 June) at the Paris Diamond League.
Paced by fellow world record holder in the 3000m steeplechase Beatrice Chepkoech who waited for her at the finish line, as if aware of the big moment her friend, Kipyegon, was about to experience in a matter of minutes, Kipyegon kept to the leading pack and on the back of Gidey when the Ethiopian made a move.
The deep field that had the 10,000m World champion Gidey who had not raced since the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst in February went through the first kilometer in 2:52 minutes pointing to spectacular pacing by Chepkoech.
The line up also included world record-holder Ejgayehu Taye who holds the world record for the road 5km at 14:19, but is also an accomplished performer on the track. She set an African 3000m record of 8:19.52 in 2021, and last year she held the world-leading 5000m mark of 14:12.98.
Others in contention in the race many thought Kipyegon was going to lose were world indoor 3000m champion Lemlem Hailu of Ethiopia, Olympic 1500m silver medalist Laura Muir of Great Britain, 2019 world silver medalist Margaret Kipkemboi, world cross-country bronze medalist Agnes Ngetich, North American 10,000m record-holder Alicia Monson, and up-and-coming Kenyan Grace Loibach Nawowuna, who recently clocked 29:47.42 for 10,000m.
That was still not all. Ethiopian duo of Diribe Welteji and Freweyni Hailu, both of whom are 800m and 1500m specialists, will be making their 5000m debut.
So, by all means, it was not an easy field for Kipyegon who had only contested two 5000m races to date, both back in 2015, and the last of which was also in Paris.
Her personal best (PB) stood at 14:31.95, but that came in a season when she was in 3:59 form for 1500m, and before she won double world and Olympic golds.
The field went 5:42 minutes over the second kilometer, slowing slightly but a small gap had started to form, separating the field into two with a leading pack of five that had chepkoech, Kipyegon and Gidey ahead
The field was soon split into three as the trio of the world record holders stepped on it, putting at least 10m between them and the rest of the field.
When Chepkoech stepped off, it was a battle between Kipyegon and Gidey, taking the bell with the latter ahead and the duo behind the wavelength technology lights.
The Kenyan went ahead for a moment, but Gidey worked hard to just come on her shoulder and looked set to assume lead.
Kipyegon’s 1500m speed, however, came into play as she shot off on the final bend, catching up with the lights and leaving them behind with an explosive finishing kick that saw her break the 14:06.62 mark set on 7 October 2020, in Valencia.