Budapest, Hungary — Commonwealth champion Beatrice Chebet says the entrance of Faith Kipyegon in 5000m race has motivated her to go extra-mile, promising to unleash her full potential at next year’s Paris Olympics.
Chebet had to contend with playing second fiddle to Faith Kipyegon at the recently concluded World Championships in Budapest, returning 4:53.88 while Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands scooped silver in 14:54.11.
Kipyegon completed a golden double when she added the 5,000m title to her earlier 1500m a few days back, an achievement that Chebet says it’s worth being emulated.
“Faith (Kipyegon) is an amazing athlete, her entrance in the 5000m motivated me to work hard, and although I did not better my Oregon performance, I am contented with my achievement today. Infact, I have never won bronze, so now in my cabinet I have gold, silver and bronze,” Chebet, who won silver in world championships last year, said.
Chebet, the reigning World Cross Country champion, is now focusing on making amends by winning 5000m gold in Paris on her Olympics debut.
“For me, Budapest is now water under the bridge. My target is to kick-start early preparations for the Paris Olympics. I thank God for the bronze. It wasn’t an easy one against two of the world’s greatest athletes.”
“From the onset, I had said to myself that I will go faster, no matter what, but Faith and Sifan are typically 1500m runners while most of us are long-distance athletes; so, their killer instincts on home-stretch are out of this world,” Chebet told Capital Sport.
“But at the end of it all, teamwork was key and I am glad it worked out for us. Faith and I pushed relentlessly and we ended up with medals although the other Kenyans didn’t get a medal,” she added.
Chebet also admitted that Sifan is a battled-hardened athlete with the much-needed resilience and vim to excel in multiple specialties.
“Like Faith, I would say Sifan motivates countless other female athletes to embrace athletics. She’s our track adversary, yes, but a true role model in the sport,” the 23-year-old said.
“I wonder where she gets all the vim to run races from 1500m, 5000m, 10,000m to marathon and still performs well. It was my first time to run against Faith and I must admit she’s kindhearted. Above all, she made me enjoy every inch of the race.”
“And who knows? Maybe our teamwork and partnership in the Paris Olympics will be of great significance for Team Kenya. But then again, in Paris, I will run, run and run fast.”
-Alex Isaboke is reporting from Budapest, Hungary-
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