Faith Kipyegon warned there is more to come after adding the women’s 1500m world record to a stellar career path that has already seen her bag two world and two Olympic golds over the distance.
The 29-year-old Kenyan clocked 3:49.11 in Florence on Friday to shatter the previous record of 3:50.07 set by Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba in Monaco in 2015.
Kipyegon, considered the greatest ever woman in the discipline, crushed the rest of the field in Tuscany, finishing more than eight seconds ahead of reigning European champion Laura Muir, while Jessica Hull set an Australian and Oceania record of 3:57.29 in third.
Coming into the Golden Gala meeting, Kipyegon had said that the world record was in her heart and on her mind.
And she duly delivered at the third leg of the Diamond League circuit in a city that last saw a world record when World Athletics president Sebastian Coe broke the 800m mark there in 1981.
“I said yesterday that I wanted to run a beautiful race, run my race, and see what is possible, and this was possible,” said Kipyegon, who came agonisingly close to breaking the record at the Monaco Diamond League meet last year.
Aided by wavelight technology, whereby lights light up around the track to show world record pace, the race’s pacemakers had been asked to take the field through in 3:54 pace.
It looked ambitious on a damp track after early rain, but that pace merely left Kipyegon full of running when she took the lead in the penultimate lap, as she blazed through the final 600m at unprecedented speed.
“When I crossed the finish line, I knew I broke the world record because I had a good finish and felt very very strong at the end,” she said.
“I am excited — my family was watching. I told them that this would be an amazing day for me, I am well prepared and I really trusted in me.”
Kipyegon added: “I am going back to celebrate with my daughter. This was really important because this was something I was still missing in my career.
“Getting this, it will really motivate me and I left the legacy for the next generation — they can say she broke the world record, she was the Olympic and the world champion. It was amazing.”
“There’s still more to come. I’m still working on running faster than that, faster than 3:49,” she warned.
Marathon legend Eliud Kipchoge, who like Kipyegon is also coached by Patrick Sang, said his training partner was an inspiration to many young girls and women across Africa.
“It was only a matter of time. Faith has shown a great focus and determination to attack the world 1500 record since coming back from maternity,” Kipchoge said.
Former marathon world record holder and president of Kenya’s Olympic committee Paul Tergat said Kipyegon’s achievement “edges her indelibly to the GREATS league and Kenyans got another moment of collective national pride”.
Kenyan President William Ruto also joined in the compliments, saying the hard-working Kipyegon’s “determination and consistency” had been crowned.
American Fred Kerley, who also won in Rabat last week, took the victory in a dominant 9.94 seconds, as Ferdinand Omanyala finished second in 10.05 with Trayvon Bromell third (10.09). Jamaica’s Yohan Blake came in seventh.
Olympic gold medallist Jacobs did not compete due to a lingering back issue
.In the women’s event, Ivorian Marie-Josee Ta Lou exploded off the blocks and crossed the line in 10.97 ahead of Germany’s European champion Gina Lueckenkemper and Briton Imani-Lara Lansiquot.
American teenager Erriyon Knighton won the men’s 200m in 19.89, while the Netherlands’ Femke Bol set a meeting record in the women’s 400m hurdles, surging away from the rest of the field to win in a world leading time of 52.43.
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American Grant Holloway made up for his second-placed finish in Rabat with victory in the men’s 110m hurdles.
Spaniard Mohamed Katir produced a lung-busting performance to win the 5,000m with a world leading 12:52.09, with world record holder Joshua Cheptegei coming in fourth.
Italy’s Leonardo Fabbri and Andy Diaz gave the home fans packed into Luigi Ridolfi Stadium plenty to cheer as they claimed wins in the men’s shot put and triple jump respectively, while compatriot Larissa Iapichino won the women’s long jump.