Nairobi – Multiple world and Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon and world silver medallist Emmanuel Wanyonyi showcased their exceptional talent with impressive victories at the Kenyan Olympic Trials, which wrapped up on Saturday after two thrilling days of competition.

The event kicked off with the women’s 5000m, featuring a highly competitive field. The race was tightly contested until the 3000m mark, when Kipyegon surged ahead. She was followed closely by two-time world cross-country champion Beatrice Chebet and 2019 world silver medallist Margaret Chelimo. Chelimo eventually fell back, leaving Kipyegon and Chebet to vie for the win. In the final lap, Kipyegon pulled away to win in 14:46.28. Chebet secured the second automatic spot with a time of 14:52.55, while Chelimo finished third in 14:59.39.

Another gold for Faith Kipyegon. Photo by Attila KISBENEDEK.
Source: Getty Images

Kipyegon solidified her readiness for a potential third consecutive Olympic gold in Paris with a dominant performance in the 1500m on the second day, clocking 3:53.99. Nelly Jepchirchir, who stayed close to Kipyegon for much of the race, finished second in 3:58.46, followed by Susan Ejore in 4:00.22.

“I aimed for 3:55 but was thrilled to clock 3:53,” Kipyegon said. “I’m excited to be back on track. I thank God for making the team for both the 5000m and 1500m events. Now, I’ll focus on speed and endurance training ahead of Paris.”

 

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In the men’s 800m, Wanyonyi faced a setback when he tripped in his heat, almost derailing his Olympic hopes. However, an appeal allowed him to advance to the final, where he led from start to finish, winning in 1:41.70. This incredible time ranks him third on the world all-time list, behind David Rudisha and Wilson Kipketer.

After crossing the finish line, Wanyonyi celebrated by running back across the line to confirm his time, then removed his vest and lay on his back in joy. The enthusiastic fans, already singing his praises, erupted in celebration, following him with drums and dances.

“We have never seen such a time run on Kenyan soil,” said world record-holder Rudisha. “We have never lost an Olympic gold in the men’s 800m since 2008, and seeing Wanyonyi run today, I believe we will have another gold medal.”

Wyclife Kinyamal finished second in 1:42.50, followed by Koitatoi Kidali in 1:42.66. Olympic champion Emmanuel Korir did not advance to the final after struggling in his heat.

Ferdinand Omanyala electrified the stadium with a world-leading 9.79 to win the 100m. “This year, I hope to run 9.8s in the races that matter,” he said.

Reynold Cheruiyot, the 2022 world U20 champion, won the men’s 1500m in one of the most competitive races of the trials, using a strong finishing kick to win in 3:35.63. Daniel Munguti followed in 3:35.80, with 2019 world champion and Olympic silver medallist Timothy Cheruiyot in third at 3:35.90.

World champion Mary Moraa took command of the women’s 800m. In the final 150 metres, she appeared to ease up slightly, allowing her younger sister Sarah Moraa to pass. However, Lilian Odira surged ahead to win in 1:59.27. Mary Moraa finished second in 1:59.35, and Sarah Moraa was third in 1:59.39, just shy of the Olympic qualifying time.

In the women’s steeplechase, Faith Cherotich and Beatrice Chepkoech ran together for most of the race, securing their Olympic spots. Cherotich won in 9:22.28, with Chepkoech second in 9:22.76. Jackline Chepkoech finished third in 9:34.86.

Other notable performances included Ronald Kwemoi’s victory in the men’s 5000m with a time of 13:27.20, followed by Jacob Krop (13:27.54) and Edwin Kurgat (13:27.75). Amos Serem, the 2021 world U20 champion, won the men’s steeplechase in 8:20.55, ahead of Simon Koech (8:20.99) and world bronze medallist Abraham Kibiwot (8:23.41).

The trials have set the stage for a formidable Kenyan team as they head to the Paris Olympics.