Kenyan Kipyegon in late charge for 1,500m gold

Wed Aug 17, 2016 6:01am EDT
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By Mitch Phillips

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Kenya's Faith Kipyegon won the women's Olympic 1,500 meters on Tuesday after unleashing a devastating burst in the second half of the race that left Ethiopia's world record holder Genzebe Dibaba trailing in her wake.

Kipyegon, fastest in the world this year, sat in a pack that virtually jogged the opening stages before she and Dibaba pulled clear with a 56.8-second lap around the halfway mark that scattered the field.

Dibaba, who has struggled with injury this year, led with 200 to go but the 22-year-old Kipyegon forced her way past and drove for the line to win in four minutes 8.92 seconds and reverse the order from last year's world championship final.

"It was an amazing race," Kipyegon told reporters. "I needed to focus for the middle because I knew Genzebe is so fast and I really had to kick on the last lap."

Dibaba held on for silver, with American former world champion Jenny Simpson taking bronze.

Another American, Shannon Rowbury, finished fourth to suffer more frustration after being cheated out of a medal four years ago when finishing sixth.

The 2012 event in London has been dubbed the "Dirtiest Race in History" with six of the top nine finishers, including the gold and silver medalists, committing doping offences before or after the race.

Winner Asli Cakir Alptekin is serving an eight-year ban for her second offense while fellow Turk Gamze Bulut, who had improved her personal best by an eyebrow-raising 18 seconds, is also suspended.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Athletics - Final - Women's 1500m Final - Olympic Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 16/08/2016. Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon (KEN) of Kenya celebrates winning the gold. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson