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Keeping the Faith as shocked Kipyegon adds 5,000m world record to 1,500m mark in Paris

Kenya's Faith Kipyegon reacts as she breaks the world record in the women's 5,000m event during the Diamond League event in Paris. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS – A week after shattering the world record in the women’s 1,500 metres, Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon had no expectations of a world-beating time in the 5,000m – a distance she had not contested in eight years – but managed to surprise herself.

The 29-year-old produced a stunning performance to crush the world 5,000m mark at the Paris Diamond League on Friday, beating record-holder Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia in the process.

Kipyegon passed Gidey with about 700m remaining to cross the line in 14min 5.20sec, putting her hands across her face in disbelief when she spotted her time before collapsing in a joyous heap and receiving a hug from Gidey.

The two-time Olympic and world champion over 1,500m had not even been thinking about breaking the record.

“I do not know how I made it,” Kipyegon said.

“I just focused on the green light and tried to stay relaxed and enjoy the race. I just did the race and wanted to see what happens, when I saw that it was a world record I was so surprised.”

Posting on Instagram before Friday’s meet at Charlety Stadium that she hoped to run a “beautiful race”, Kipyegon definitely met that goal and more.

“It was all about giving my best,” added the Kenyan.

“I just wanted to improve on my (personal best), the world record was not my plan. I just ran after Gidey, she is an amazing lady. It is amazing.

“I do not know what will be next, but I am so happy. I am very emotional right now and do not know what to say. If my body is healthy, anything is possible.”

It has been an amazing week for Kipyegon, who is the first Kenyan woman to hold the 5,000m record.

At the Florence Diamond League meeting last Friday, she set a world record when she ran 3:49.11 to break the 1,500m mark of 3:50.07 set by Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia in 2015.

Kipyegon was not the only record breaker on Friday, however, as Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma smashed the 19-year-old record in the men’s 3,000m steeplechase.

Twice a silver medallist at the world championships and once at the Olympics, he clocked 7:52.11, shattering the previous best of 7:53.63 set by Kenyan-born Qatari Saif Saaeed Shaheen in Brussels in 2004.

“I’m happy and very proud. I felt so fast during the race, so confident,” said Girma, 22.

“The world record is not a surprise, I planned to beat it tonight in Paris. It’s a result of a full determination.”

Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen also set a new world record in the rarely-run 2 miles event.

The 22-year-old, already the world record holder for 1,500m indoors, clocked 7:54.10 in an incredible display in the race which is not an acknowledged Olympic or world distance.

The time smashed the previous best performance of 7:58.61 set by Kenyan Daniel Komen in July 1997 in Hechtel, Belgium.

There was disappointment in the long-awaited season opener for Olympic 100m champion Marcell Jacobs, who returned from a back issue and could finish only seventh in a race won by world 200m champion Noah Lyles in 9.97. REUTERS, AFP