Lausanne, April 2 : Three of the world’s top athletes — Gudaf Tsegay, Beatrice Chepkoech and Kibiwott Kandie — have reason to cheer in the Olympic season after their world records in women’s 1,500m and 5km and men’s half-marathon, respectively were ratified by World Athletics (WA), the sport’s world governing body.
Tsegay had broken the 1,500m record at the Meeting Hauts-de-France Pas-de-Calais on February 9 this year, timing 3:53.09 seconds to shave more than two seconds from the previous world indoor record of 3:55.17 set by Ethiopian compatriot Genzebe Dibaba in Karlsruhe on February 1, 2014.
World Championships bronze medallist Tsegay had a four-second lead with three laps to go but she showed no signs of fatigue, passing through 1,000m in 2:37.36.She then dug deep into her reserves in the last two laps to come up with the world record.
“I have been training really hard and I set myself a target to break the world indoor record,” said Tsegay.“I had this record in my mind for a long time – maybe six or seven years.”
For Chepkoech, Valentine’s Day this year became extra special as she broke the world 5km record at the Monaco Run.The world 3,000m steeplechase champion completed the 5km road run 14:43:00 sec, eclipsing the women’s record in a mixed gender race of 14:48 set by compatriot Caroline Kipkirui on September 8, 2018.
“I’m so happy because I didn’t expect it,” said Chepkoech, who broke the world 3,000m steeplechase record with a time 8:44.32 sec also in Monaco in 2018.
Kenya’s Kandie ran in near-perfect conditions on December 6 to make road-running history, timing 57:32 at the Valencia Trinidad Alfonso EDP Half Marathon, thus gaining “revenge” for his loss seven weeks ago.
Running in near-perfect conditions on December 6, Kandie more than made up for his loss in the World Athletics Half Marathon Championship at Gdynia seven weeks ago, beating Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo.
Kiplimo had won the title in Gdynia but in Valencia, Kandie ran a great tactical race to shave 29 seconds from the previous world half-marathon record of 58:01 in the name of compatriot Geoffrey Kamworor (Copenhagen, September 15, 2019).
The race, in fact, was memorable as the next three finishers — Kiplimo (57:37), Rhonex Kipruto (57:49) and Alexander Mutiso (57:59) — too went below the previous record.
“I can’t believe it, I have beaten Kamworor’s world record by half a minute,” a beaming Kandie had said.