WCH Oregon22 preview women’s 1500m - Kipyegon eyes second world title
Hopes will be high among the home fans that a U.S. athlete can reach the podium, and Team USA has a strong contingent in Sinclaire Johnson, Elle St Pierre and Cory McGee.
By Cathal Dennehy for World Athletics
As it stands, few could argue with Faith Kipyegon’s claims to being the greatest female 1500m runner of all-time. But if the 27-year-old can reclaim her world title in Oregon – and make it a fourth global outdoor championships gold – then the debate will be fully over.
Based on recent form, it will take something very special to stop her. The Kenyan was beaten to gold by Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands at the last edition of these championships in Doha in 2019, but since then she has been close to unbeatable at her favored distance, her sole loss coming at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Florence last year after a thrilling home-straight duel with Hassan.
But as good as she is on the circuit, Kipyegon always saves her best for championships, and in Tokyo last year she retained her Olympic title in style in 3:53.11. She also clocked a blazing 3:51.07 in Monaco, the fourth fastest time in history. Kipyegon has tasted defeat over 800m and 3000m already this season, but when it comes to the women’s 1500m final on Monday, July 18, it’s hard to envisage anyone getting the better of the Kenyan, who possesses a change of gears that so often proves unstoppable.
At the Diamond League meeting in Eugene in late May, Kipyegon took on many of her chief rivals and prevailed with a racing style that has become her trademark – coasting to the shoulder of the leader on the final lap and exploding off the final turn – clocking 3:52.59 on a damp, cool day ahead of Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay (3:54.21).
Those times put them well clear of the others on the 2022 world list, but one athlete who has been laying low so far this season due to health issues – and who, at her best, can trouble Kipyegon – is Hassan. The Dutch star ran her first race of the season on Friday, July 8, clocking a modest 15:13.41 for 5000m in Portland, OR. Hassan, the Olympic champion at 5000m and 10,000m, is also entered for both of those events in Oregon but she plans to contest just two, unlike in Tokyo, with the decision on which event to drop to be made in the coming days.
Her coach, Tim Rowberry, recently told Letsrun.com that she “is trying to take things slowly so she doesn’t burn herself out next year while building up for Paris”, adding that Hassan fasting during Ramadan “interrupted training more than usual” this year so Rowberry “felt it was necessary to postpone her races leading into Prefontaine rather than interrupt the slow training build up.”
Continue reading, includes WAC schedule, at: worldathletics.org