In 2019, Faith Kipyegon showed the talent and drive that she has with an amazing silver medal in the women’s 1,500m, where Sifan Hassan completed an amazing double, with the 10,000m, and 1,500m golds. Faith Kipyegon had come back from having a child in June 2018, and in October 2019, took a silver medal, plus set a Kenyan National record!
On Friday, 14 August, 2020, Faith Kipyegon will compete over 1000m with a stellar group of athletes in the field. Stuart Weir gives us a preview of the 2020 Herculis Monaco Diamond League meeting 1000m.
Faith Kipyegon season opener in Monaco
One of the most intriguing races in the Herculis Diamond League in Monaco on Friday is the rarely run 1000 meters. Britain is well represented with Laura Muir, Jemma Reekie and Shelayna Oskan-Clarke. The field also includes the 2019 gold and silver medalists in the world championship 1500 – Halimah Nakaayi and Raevyn Rogers. Also in the field is the 2016 Olympic champion at 1500m, Faith Kipyegon.
Kipyegon went into Doha 2019 as the reigning Olympic and world champion, but was returning from maternity leave: “My daughter [Alyn] was born in June 2018. I took eight months off when I was feeding the baby and then started to do exercise, building up slowly. Coming back was hard – really hard. Reducing weight is not easy. I just had to make progress slowly. My management was telling me not to rush but to take it easy and that I would be back for Doha. And I did it”.
2019 did not go as smoothly as she had planned as she managed only two races prior to the world championships [Prefontaine 30 June and Kenyan trials 13 September]: “First I went to Eugene Diamond League, my first race after maternity leave – to see how my body was. I won and was surprised! After that I was supposed to go to London [Anniversary Games 20 July]. But after Eugene, I got an injury and had to rest for six weeks. So I did not have long enough to build up to Doha. I had to cancel all the races I had planned and just work slowly towards Doha. I was really hampered by the injury”.
When you fail to defend your title yet not only run the fastest 1500m of your life but also the national record – is that a success or failure? “Actually I thought it was really good”, she told me. “Coming back from maternity leave, running a PB of 3:54 was not easy. I was coming back from injury so I didn’t win, but I thank God for a silver medal”.
If 2019 was a difficult year, then 2020 has been a strange one! “I’ve been training but in isolation near Eldoret. We no longer train as a group. It is either two people or on your own. It is not nice because I’m used to training in a group. Training alone is very hard. I am doing fartlek and 5K speed endurance. When the Olympics were postponed, I was disappointed because I was really looking forward to Tokyo but the most important thing now is to stay healthy and to keep your focus on the future. Provided we stay healthy we can fight another day! What is happening throughout the world is disturbing”.