Women’s 3000m, 2022 Doha Diamond League, photo by Diamond League AG
Faith Kipyegon, 2021 Zurich DL, photo by Diamond League AG
Francine Nyonsaba, 2021 Zurich Diamond League, photo by Diamond League AG
Stuart wrote his fifth piece on the Doha Diamond League about the women’s 3000 meters, which came down to a tremendous battle between Francine Nyonsaba and Faith Kipyegon.
The women’s 3000
3000m is an unusual distance. Run as a championship distance indoors but not outdoors – apart from the specialist steeplechase. It is therefore not a distance that many runners are familiar with. It fits the Diamond League program with TV’s desire for a slick 2-hour program.
The Doha race brought together an intriguing field of runners. The main protagonists included:
Francine Niyonsaba – one of the best 800m runners in the world before falling foul of DSD regulations and being forced to run 5 and 10k. She made the transition well enough to win last year’s Diamond League 5000m. A 3000m race may have seemed a happy compromise between the old and the new Niyonsaba.
Faith Kipyegon – Double Olympic champion at 1500, who had shown great prowess at 800 but what could she do at twice her usual distance?
Beatrice Chepkeoch – a world record holder at the 3000 steeplechase, Yasemin Can, Winnie Nanyondo, Fantu Worku were also in a field of 16, of whom 11 were East Africans.
The result was:
1 Francine Niyonsaba 8:37.70
2 Faith Kipyegon 8:38.05
3 Jessica Hull 8:40.97
Yasemin Can was fourth, Fantu Worku eighth, Beatrice Chepkeoch 12th, Winnie Nanyondo 13th.
Niyonsaba led the race. It was clear from an early stage that she was the one to beat. She had a plan and was out to impose it on the race. Of course, for many, this was their first serious race of the year. How race-ready everyone was – that was an unknown factor? When Niyonsaba pushed for home with a lap to go, we wondered if Kipyegon could go with her and take her on the home straight. It was an epic race ending.
Francine Niyonsaba told me afterward: “The race was so tough because the conditions were so windy. I controlled the race. It was tactical, I won and I’m so happy. When we got to the last 200m I knew that the outcome would be what it was. I’m going to keep working hard and in Oregon, I will run the 5 and 10K.
Faith Kipyegon commented: “The race was really tough but I thank God I managed it. I am really happy. But I will focus on the 1500 this year. Running the 3000 was not easy but I was well prepared for it. I knew that anything was possible. I was just following the race to see where I am”.
It was interesting that both used the word “tough”, a reference to the quality of the opposition but also to the windy conditions. The pole-vaulters were given the night off but the track athletes had to “tough” it out and they did.