WRITTEN FOR THE IAAF WEBSITE
She may have successfully defended her IAAF World cross country Championship junior title in Bydgoszcz, Poland today (24) but Kenyan Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon now intends to step down in distance in order to challenge the seniors on the track.
The 19-year-old became only the third woman in the history of the event to defend her title after her compatriot Viola Kibiwot won in 2001 and 2002 and Ethiopia’s World indoor 1500m champion, Genzebe Dibaba enjoyed back-to-back victories in 2008 and 2009 before embarking on a fine senior
A comfortable winner in the fiercely-competitive Kenyan trial, Kipyegon edged marginally clear of her teammate, 17-year-old Agnes Chebet Tirop in the closing metres to clinch the gold, as Ethiopia’s 17-year-old Alemitu Heroye took the bronze.
After warming up from contesting the 6km course in below zero temperatures and snow-covered conditions, Kipyegon explained:
“I’m so happy to defend my title in Bydgoszcz, it delights me so much.
“My training went well in the run-up to this event, I was training on Mount Kenya and it’s a place that’s relatively cold as I knew it would be here.
“I expected to win but I knew it would be tough here, I just hoped to defend my title. The course was tough, there was a lot of ice and it was very cold for me but my hope was still to win.”
Her impressive performance led Kenya to gold in the team stakes as they claimed 14 points to comfortably beat Ethiopia’s 23.
Lead by Kipyegon and Tirop, the winning squad could boast five members in the top ten, with their sixth athlete in 11th position.
Now looking ahead to warmer climes and a new challenge in the senior ranks, Kipyegon revealed her plans to concentrate on the shorter 1500m distance during the forthcoming track season as she hopes to translate her fine junior form against her older peers at the World Championships in Moscow in
“After today’s race I expect to race the 1500m in Moscow, I’m comfortable at that distance and I like it.”
She may have exited in the first round of the metric mile at the London Olympic Games last summer but it would take a brave sole indeed to bet against this promising youngster progressing further after her breakthrough run in Poland.
Nicola Bamford for the IAAF