Jamaicans wanted Shericka Jackson to win this year's World Female Athlete of the Year! Well, World Athletics just announced on their instagram page the winners for field and track events. So, drumroll please. The Winner in the female track category is.....
Who is Faith Kipyegon?
Early Life and Background:
Faith Kipyegon was born on January 10, 1994, as the eighth of nine children in a small village near Keringet, Nakuru County, in the Kenyan Rift Valley. Growing up on a farm, Kipyegon initially pursued soccer until she discovered her passion for athletics at the age of 14. She attended Winners Girls High School in Keringet, where her talent for running was first recognized.
Her family background is deeply rooted in athletics; her father, Samuel Kipyegon Koech, was a 400m and 800m runner in his youth, and her mother, Linah Koech, also had a connection with the sport. Kipyegon's elder sister and former training partner, Beatrice Mutai, specializes in 10km and half marathons.
Kipyegon made her international debut in 2010 at the World Cross Country Championships in Poland, showcasing her potential as a young athlete. She went on to win gold at the 2011 and 2013 World Cross Country Championships, as well as in the 1500m at the 2011 World Youth Championships and the 2012 World Junior Championships.
In her senior career, Kipyegon achieved numerous milestones. She won the gold medal in the 1500m at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, repeating her success at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She claimed victory at the 2017, 2022, and 2023 World Athletics Championships in the 1500m, as well as in the 5000m at the 2023 World Athletics Championships.
Kipyegon faced challenges in 2018 as she took a break from athletics to start a family. She returned to competitive racing in 2019, and in 2020, she set a new African and Diamond League record in the 1000m. In 2021, Kipyegon secured her second consecutive Olympic gold medal in the 1500m at the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
World Records and Achievements:
The year 2022 saw Kipyegon's continued dominance, earning her second senior world title in the 1500m and setting a new Kenyan record in the process. She came within 0.3 seconds of Genzebe Dibaba's world record, recording a time of 3:50.37.
In 2023, Kipyegon made history by setting world records in both the 1500m and 5000m events within a week. She became the first woman in history to break the 3:50-barrier in the 1500m, and later, she broke the 5000m world record. Kipyegon's exceptional achievements earned her the World Athletics Women’s World Athlete of the Year Award for Track Events.
Personal Life and Coach:
Off the track, Faith Kipyegon is married to middle-distance runner Timothy Kitum, the 2012 Olympic 800m bronze medallist. They have a daughter, Alyn, born in June 2018. Kipyegon trains in Kaptagat and Kapsabet under the guidance of coach Patrick Sang, who also coaches marathon world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge.
Faith Kipyegon's journey from a small village in Kenya to becoming a world-record holder and a two-time Olympic gold medallist showcases not only her athletic prowess but also her resilience, determination, and the support of her family and coaching team.