With Budapest 2023 run and won, the world’s best now turn their attention to the Diamond League final in mid-September as they prepare themselves for the final track races of the year. Let’s look back at a great World Athletics Championships.
Faith Kipyegon has struck gold again in Budapest. In a year of record-breaking performances, the Kenyan added another to her glittering resume when she became the first woman to win the 1500m and 5000m titles at the same world championships.
The field was extraordinarily deep, and included the Olympic champion, Sifan Hassan, the defending champion, Gudaf Tsegay, and the world record holder, Kipyegon.
Tsegay, who won the 10,000m earlier in the week, pushed the pace early in an attempt to test the fatigue in the legs of her rivals. However, after the Ethiopian let up, it was the favourite, Kipyegon, who moved to the fore. Immediately joined by her teammates Beatrice Chebet and Lilian Rengeruk, the Kenyan trio comfortably dictated the middle section of the race, and it seemed that the rest of the field was playing into Kipyegon’s hands.
With a mile left to run, the early leader, Tsegay, returned to the front, perhaps realising she couldn’t leave it to a sprint finish if she was to contend for a medal. Hassan finally moved from her signature position at the back, as Kipyegon and her fellow Kenyan, Chebet, paid close attention.
The quartet began their long drive for home, but in the end the tactics of Kipyegon’s competitors would prove fruitless once again: the woman who broke the 5000m world record in June was simply too strong. She advanced to the front once more with 600m to go, and this time, the move stuck.
Dragging Hassan and Chebet around the back straight on the final lap, the three athletes broke free from the rest of the pack. But neither had an answer to Kipyegon’s trademark kick, as she once again accelerated away from her rivals to post a 56-second final lap and collect her second gold of the championships.
Hassan, who showed impressive track speed for someone who won the London marathon four months ago, ran home for silver, and reigning World Cross Country Champion Chebet clinched bronze to complete the podium.
Kipyegon expressed how much this double gold meant to her in the post-race press conference.
“This has been an amazing year for me. Making history today, winning two gold medals in a championships is what I was dreaming for this season. I have been pushing myself to the limits and I will continue to push myself in the future.”
Hassan, gracious in defeat, paid tribute to her Kenyan rival. “These championships have taught me a lot. How I was able to sprint at the end I don’t know. I really felt amazing on the last lap and it was only in the last 20 metres I couldn’t hold on. Faith was stronger than me today.”
Hassan is scheduled to race the Chicago Marathon in October.
Performing the same act of redemption we saw at last year’s world championships, Jakob Ingebrigtsen has successfully defended his global 5000m title to bounce back from a shock defeat in the 1500m that took place four days prior.
The intriguing race tactics evolved into a sprint finish that saw the Norwegian eventually take the lead only a few metres from the finish line, out-dipping Spain’s Mohamed Katir at the death.
“My body is just getting over a virus, so it’s not been a very good situation to be in,” Ingebrigtsen explained after the race.
“At the same time, I wanted to do my best. I had to be very patient…I really did not know what to expect from this race…I’m really happy to defend my title in this way.”
In a bizarre and aggressive move, 18-year-old Ishmael Kipkurui soared to the front after just two laps to open up a five-second gap on the rest of the field in the space of 100m. The young Kenyan remained in the lead for another four laps, before the world-ranked number one, Berihu Aregawi, eventually reeled him back in. From here, Kipkurui was absorbed back into the pack as the favourites started to make their way to the fore.
It was Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet who took the last-lap bell, with teammate Aregawi alongside him. 1500m specialists Mohammed Katir and Jakob Ingebrigtsen were right behind the Ethiopians, and the two Europeans showed off their impressive top speed down the back straight as Katir led Ingebrigtsen around the final bend.
Refusing to be denied another global title, Ingebrigtsen hunted the Spaniard all the way to the line, eventually edging past him to finish one-tenth of a second in front.
“It was a very hard run, especially in the last 40-50 metres,” explained the newly crowned world champion after the race.
Kenya’s Jacob Krop pushed wide around the tiring chase pack to finish third, adding another global medal to his collection to go with the silver he won last year in Eugene.
“I am still only 22, so to get two medals from the World Championships is a big honour,” he said. “I don’t think this bronze after the silver in Eugene is a step down; I am still among the top runners over 5000m.”
It was the runner-up who had the most to say in the post-race press conference. Staging a redemption arc of his own after failing to make the final of the 1500m, Katir reflected on his silver while paying homage to his Norwegian counterpart.
“I gave it all that I had today” he said. “But Jakob is Jakob – he is the best in the world nowadays. This medal proves the power of the mind. If the mind says that you can, even if you are physically exhausted, it means that you are going to fight for it. A silver medal is not something I should be ashamed of.”