Faith Chepng'etich eyes victorious end to season
Olympic and Diamond League 1,500 metres champion, Faith Chepng’etich, targets to run a beautiful race that will wrap up her season at the Absa Kip Keino Classic on Saturday.
Chepng'etich said she will then shift focus to next year with the aim of recapturing her world 1,500m title and to perhaps lower the six-year-old world record in the metric mile race.
At the same time, title sponsors Absa Bank will reward any Kenyan winner at the Kip Keino Classic with Sh50,000 in addition to the purse money from organisers.
Elsewhere, mobile telephone service provider Safaricom has announced Sh4.5 million sponsorship deal for the Kip Keino Classic, the final leg of the 2021 World Athletics Continental Gold Tour.
“I have had a good season to retain my Olympic title and recapture the Diamond League Trophy despite Covid-19 challenges,” Chepng'etich said Saturday. “It’s my desire to end the season in a good way as I enjoy the race at home ground.”
Chepng'etich, who bettered her own national record with victory in a time of 3min, 51.07sec in Monaco Diamond League on July 9 said her desire is to improve her time and results next year. The time places her as the fourth all-time fastest woman in the world.
“I want to return the world title to Kenya after I claimed silver at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha,” said the 27-year-old Chepng'etich, who was accompanied to the pre-event press conference at Ole Sereni Hotel by her three-year-old daughter Alyn.
“I had just returned from maternity leave and I had not prepared well but I’m in great shape now. I pray for good health onwards,” said Chepngétich, who lost her world title to Dutch runner Sifan Hassan in Doha.
“I want to lower my personal best to something better next year, “explained Chepng’etich when asked if she would attempt to break the women’s 1,500m world record of 3:50.07 currently held by Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba.
Chepng'etich said that giving birth has changed her life for the better. “Alyn has been a blessing and being around her makes me work hard and teaches me to be a good parent, “ Chepng'etich said. “It makes me work extra hard to provide for her future.”
Chepng’etich said young mothers like her should feel comfortable to take maternity leave and come back stronger to continue with their normal life.
Absa Bank CEO Jeremy Awori said that besides coming in as title sponsor, they want to inspire the best from the Kenyan athletes at the Kip Keino Classic.
“It’s good to see the likes of Justin Gatlin, Trayvon Bromell, Fred Kerley and Isaac Makwala but I will be routing for Kenyan athletes,” said Awori.
Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa said the firm’s sponsorship will go towards a fully kitted media centre and high-speed internet connectivity to all functional areas at the event.