This is Justin Lagat’s column on Day 8 of the Budapest World Champs.
It is hard to imagine how it would look for Kenya at the world championships had Faith Kipyegon not been on the team to Budapest 23.
After winning gold in the 1500m and becoming a three-time world champion, the world record holder over the 1500m and 5000m distances came back for another medal in the longer track distance on the second last day of the Budapest 23 championships.
In a fast last lap, there was a three-way battle between Sifan Hassan, Beatrice Chebet, and Kipyegon. Kipyegon stretched the gap with 200m to go and proceeded to win the race in 14:53.88. Hassan followed in 14:54.11, slightly edging Chebet, who ran 14:54.33.
Faith Kipyegon takes gold number 2 in the 5,000m, photo by Kevin Morris
It would appear as though the Ethiopian runners knew that their chances to medal lay at a fast pace. Gudaf Tsegay, the defending champion, did the pacing in the race’s early stages. The race slowed down again with about four laps to go and even got dangerously crowded with two laps remaining.
As feared by runners with no prowess in the 800m event, the race turned into a middle-distance event.
The other distance track final of the evening was the men’s 800m. Marco Arop of Canada changed his race tactics tonight, running from behind and only beginning to move towards the front after the bell.
Emmanuel Wanyonyi did the front running, crossing the 400m mark in 52.68. He never saw the Canadian runner catching up with him from the outside lane to surprise him at the 200m bend. He reacted and followed, but there was already a gap ahead, and two other runners had also passed by: Djamel Sedjati of Algeria and Tsepiso Masalela of Botswana.
Marco Arop takes the 800m, Budapest 2023, photo by Kevin Morris
Arop sprinted home in 1:44.24 to upgrade his bronze medal from Eugene into a gold medal. Emmanuel Wanyonyi won the silver medal in 1:44.53, while Ben Pattison of Great Britain took the bronze medal in 1:44.83.
The evening was exciting from the beginning. The 4 x 400m men’s relay heats began the evening with some spectacular running.
The USA won the first heat, while Jamaica won the second. Kenya’s men’s team almost made it to the finals as Wycliffe Kinyamal got a muscle pull on the home stretch while in second position.
In the women’s race, the USA got disqualified after exchanging the baton outside the designation markings. Jamaica won the first heat and Great Britain the second.
The climax came with the men and women 4 x 100m relays, where USA’s women set the championship record of 41.03, while Noah Lyles won his third gold medal of the championships after anchoring the men’s team.