Faith Kipyegon, the 1500-meter sensation from Kenya, made history in 2023 by becoming the first Kenyan woman to be crowned World Athlete of the Year. She had an incredible season on the track, breaking multiple records and achieving remarkable feats. Kipyegon became the first woman in history to win both the 1500-meter and 5000-meter events at a World Championship. She has an impressive list of achievements, including being a World Youth champion, World U20 champion, World Relay Champion, Commonwealth champion, Diamond League Champion, World Champion, Olympic Champion, and World Record holder. At the 2023 World Athletic Awards held in Monaco, Kipyegon was nominated alongside other top athletes but emerged as the Women’s World Athlete of the Year (Track).
Kipyegon’s success in 2023 was a result of her incredible performance on the track. She broke three world records in the span of two months, in the 1500-meter, 5000-meter, and mile events. She also won the World Championship titles in the 1500-meter and 5000-meter. Her dominance in the sport left her opponents in awe, and she was widely expected to win the World Athlete of the Year award.
Despite the newly-created categories for the awards, with separate winners for Track, Field, and Out of stadia events, Kipyegon’s achievement as the Women’s World Athlete of the Year (Track) marked a significant milestone in her career. In her acceptance speech, she expressed her pride and gratitude for the support she received throughout her journey.
Kipyegon’s success story is one of humble beginnings. She grew up in Keringet Village in Nakuru County, Kenya, and her journey in the sport started with barefoot races during national trials. Her passion and determination, along with the support of her husband, coach, physio, and management team, propelled her to success. Kipyegon reflected on the lessons she learned from her early days running barefoot and credited them for shaping her career.
From her junior days, Kipyegon’s talent was evident, and she quickly rose through the ranks. She won junior titles and gradually transitioned to the senior level, where she claimed her first major victory at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014. She went on to win silver at the 2015 World Championships and secured her first Diamond League victory. In 2016, Kipyegon achieved one of her greatest milestones by winning the Gold medal in the 1500-meter at the Rio Olympics.
After a break to give birth to her daughter, Kipyegon made a successful comeback in 2019 and continued to dominate the sport. She won silver at the 2019 World Championships and secured her second consecutive Olympic gold in the 1500-meter at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In 2022, she won her second World Championship title before her extraordinary 2023 season.
Kipyegon’s journey from humble beginnings to becoming a global phenomenon is a testament to her hard work, talent, and humility. She remains grounded despite her success and continues to inspire the upcoming generation of athletes.