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Top 10 Female stand-out performances from the outdoor season in each event – (10-6)
The outdoor track and field season came to a halt about a month ago, with the Diamond League finale in Zurich drawing the curtains on what has been an eventful summer. The World Championships in Oregon in July was the peak of athletes showcasing their might in their various disciplines, but there were continental championships, continental tour Gold and Silver meets, and a variety of low-key meets that caught the attention of the world.
For the next four weeks, we will start our countdown of the top performances of female athletes in the 2022 season, taking into consideration the ranking coefficient of these athletes, competition rankings, and the overall effect of their display in the grand scheme of things in athletics.
10. Letesenbet Gidey (Women’s 10,000m final in Oregon)
Before this year’s world championships, Letesenbet Gidey had a glittering collection of accolades on the track. The Ethiopian had women’s 5000m/10000m world record in the bag alongside the half marathon and 15km road record. So, it felt a bit strange for the world record holder in these events in the track not to have the tag of a world champion to her name.
Gidey took up the challenge and went into the world championships in Oregon, hoping to change that perspective. Heading into the women’s 10,000m final, the 2021 Olympic Bronze medallists was up against familiar foes in Kenya’s Hellen Obiri and Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands.
Beaten by Hassan’s blistering sprint finishes when it came to the business end of the 25-lap finals at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha and the Olympic Games in Tokyo last year, Gidey made sure she made amends for the disappointment of her last two major championships.
In what was a tepid contest for most of the 25 laps, the last 400m would prove one of the greatest in history as it wound up into a four-woman sprint for a cracking finish. In the end, Gidey held her nerves to coast to victory in a time of 30:09.94.
The NN Running team athlete narrowly defeated Kenyan Hellen Obiri, who clocked a new personal best time of 30:10.02; countrywoman Margaret Kipkemboi took third in the time of 30:10.07, also a new Personal Best.
9. Abby Steiner (Women’s 200m at the NCAA Championships final)
What a breakthrough year Abby Steiner had. The University of Kentucky graduate had arguably the biggest performance in the collegiate season this year. Her rivalry with Louisiana State University’s Favour Ofili got a lot of fans on their feet for the most part of the season, but it was in the final of the NCAA Division 1 Championships that they both took this duel a notch higher.
In the 200m final, Steiner had a very strong opening 100m followed by an unmatched final straight; she won this year’s finals and broke the previous collegiate record with a finishing time of 21.80s. The time placed her as the fastest runner over the 200m at that time, putting her in good stead to go on and win the US National title a few weeks later.
The win was made all the sweeter as she had lost to Ofili earlier in the year at the SEC Championships. Still, more importantly, it propelled her into her professional career, in which she eventually signed up with kit giant PUMA.
8. Faith Kipyegon (Women’s 1500m at the Monaco Diamond League)
Faith Kipyegon, “Mother Faith,” has etched her name into sporting immortality as arguably the greatest 1500m runner of all time. Two-time Olympic and World Champion, multiple Diamond league winners, her medal cabinet would make any upcoming athlete droll.
All the talk about her dominance over the distance still needed to be followed up by attacking the world record set by Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba in 2015. And shortly after she world her second world title in Oregon, Kipyegon came within whiskers of taking it down.
American Allie Wilson led through 400m in 59.89, and 800m in 2:01.64 before Jamaica’s Adelle Tracey took over to keep the pace as hard as possible. But when Kipyegon took control of the race, it became a race against time for the Kenyan.
Kipyegon ran by herself for the last 600 meters after the pacers shed, aided by lights along the track showing her the world record pace. Crossing the finish line in 3:50.37, Kipyegon set a new Personal Best National Record as well as set the second fastest time in history.
The time comes down to an average pace of 61.35s per lap, reflecting a pace very few athletes can ever match. But like she has shown over time, Kipyegon is no regular athlete. This was a tremendous effort from her in what has been tagged as one of the most challenging records to break in all of athletics.
One thing is certain, though. Kipyegon will take up the challenge again next year, and after coming within whiskers of breaking the record, she hopes she gets the perfect conditions to attack the record once again.
7. Chase Ealey (Women’s Shot-Put final in Oregon)
Before this season, China’s Liljiao Gong had a stranglehold on the women’s shot put for over half a decade. So, for US Chase Ealey, whose previous best performance at a global championship this year was a seventh-place finish in Doha in 2019, it was a moment of elation for her when she eventually snagged her very first world title on home soil this year.
In the final in Oregon, Ealey was throwing first in the order in the shot-put final at the reimagined Hayward Field at the University of Oregon and wasted no time. On that first throw, Ealey launched the shot 20.49m to immediately put the rest of the field in a hole from the start.
That throw held up as the winning mark as Ealey became the first United States woman to win a shot-put gold medal at an outdoor World Athletics Championships. Ealey’s throw was just off her personal best of 20.51m set in June when she won the event at the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships. That mark broke the Hayward Field record, making her the No. 2 thrower in American history.
6. Mary Moraa (Women’s 800m at the Commonwealth Games)
Mary Moora has had an amazing year by all standards. From the Diamond League to the world championships, the Kenyan was a revelation in the women’s 800m this year. However, despite all her exploits, her display at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this year stands tall amongst all.
Moora turned the women’s 8000m final into a wind sprint as she shocked Keely Hodgkinson and Laura Muir to take gold in 1:57.07. In the race, Moraa led from the start sprinting through the opening 200m before cooling off steam at the bell as she went from first to last with 300m to go.
With favorite local Hodgkinson leading the race alongside Jamaican Goule, nobody foresaw Moraa, who came back into life at the 200m bend before sprinting her way to glory in the last 100m.
The 22-year-old celebrated her victory with a joyous dance around the finish line area, and if any spectators were surprised by the result, they shouldn’t. The Kenyan went on to win the Diamond League Trophy in Zurich.
What did you make of our list so far? Watch out for the concluding part of the list (5-1) next week.