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Kipyegon seals historic hat-trick of world 1500m titles, Hassan bags bronze

Kenya's Faith Kipyegon (Jewel SAMAD)
Kenya's Faith Kipyegon (Jewel SAMAD)

Kenya's Faith Kipyegon produced a devastating last lap to win an unprecedented third world women's 1500m title in Budapest on Tuesday as arch-rival Sifan Hassan took bronze.

The double Olympic champion, who previously won world golds in 2017 and last year in Eugene, led from gun to tape in a magisterial display of running.

She kicked at the bell for the final lap to outstrip a loaded field to win in 3min 54.87sec.

Ethiopian Diribe Welteji took silver in 3:55.69, with Dutch runner Hassan rounding out the podium (3:56.00).

It was another remarkable result for the irrepressible Kipyegon in a stunning season in which she has set three world records.

"This is a great season for me," the 29-year-old Kenyan admitted. "To break the world records and become a world champion here, to defend my title.

"I told myself, 'You are the strongest and just keep going'. I was chasing history today and I was chasing this title. I have done it."

Kipyegon is hailed as the world's best-ever runner over 1500m and it is easy to see why.

She remains unbeaten over the distance since June 2021. On that occasion at the Florence Diamond League meet she was beaten by Hassan.

- Something special -

The bronze for Hassan capped a brave comeback after a dramatic fall metres from the finish of the 10,000m which put paid to her bid for a treble.

"Just a couple of weeks ago I was coming from the marathon and I was struggling to get my speed back," said Hassan, who won gold medals in both the 5,000m and 10,000m and a bronze in the 1500m at the Tokyo Olympics.

"Before I decided to enter these three events I did not look at how fast the girls are this year. When I looked at the start list for my heat I was wondering why I put myself in this position!

"I would never have imagined that I would win a medal. This season has been really crazy so far, especially for me. So this medal is really something special."

Kipyegon and Hassan will again face off in the 5,000m on Saturday.

"We are all strong runners. I knew the ladies were strong and I thank them for pushing me today. I wish everyone the best, we have to help each other in any way," Kipyegon said.

In sultry conditions at the National Athletics Centre, Kipyegon raced into the lead, with Welteji on her shoulder, Hassan in her customary early position at the back of the pack.

Kipyegon went through 800m in 2:11.78, the field resisting a surge to stay close.

At the bell, the Kenyan accelerated and Hassan made her move down the far stretch.

Kipyegon hit 200 metres well out ahead and looked to have gold in the bag.

One last push saw the chasing Welteji and Hassan kick down the final 100 metres in pursuit, but they had left it too late and Kipyegon came through the line with arms raised for a historic third title in the distance.

"That was my plan, to get to the front and to go faster because I know these races can be up and down," Kipyegon said of her race strategy.

"I just got myself in front after 300 metres and nobody was coming."