Disappointment as Cheruiyot and Kipsang fail to secure 1,500m podium

Cyprian Kimutai 04:18 - 20.07.2022

It was a bad day at the office on day five of the World Athletics Championships when Timothy Cheruiyot and Abel Kipsang finished sixth and seventh in the men’s 1,500m final.

Hours before the race, Kenyans were hopeful that the two would try to emulate Faith Kipyegon’s stunning gold-medal-winning performance witnessed on day four but to no avail.

Cheruiyot went into the race as the defending champion as well as with the Olympic silver medal in his back pocket. Kipsang on the other hand, also stepped into the track full of confidence, following his stunning display in the World Indoor Championships where he secured a bronze medal.

It was expected to be a tough but exciting race and it sure was. The field was dominated by stars; Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Olympic bronze medallist Josh Kerr of Great Britain and fourth-ranked Australian athlete Stewart Mcsweyn.

From the get-go, the Kenyans went gung-ho a strategy that would come to haunt them in the final minutes of the race. Kipsang in the first lap was ahead followed closely by his compatriot, Cheruiyot.

With two laps to go, everything changed and you could feel the tension and excitement at a packed Hayward Field.

Towards the last 800m, Ingebrigtsen laid down his gauntlet, going past the two Kenyans and splitting the race into a single file.

For a moment, everyone thought it would be a repeat of the Tokyo Olympics, the Norwegian first followed by Cheruiyot.

At the bell for the final lap, it was Ingebrigtsen, the two Kenyans and the British pair of Kerr and Wightman who accelerated away.

With Ingebrigtsen still leading towards the final straight, Wightman pushed forward, passing him with 200m to go and then keeping him at bay to claim a shocking gold.

The 28-year-old stunned the world, finishing in 3:29:23, with the Norwegian coming in second in 3:29.47, with Spain's Mohamed Katir third at 3:29.90.