Kenya's Kipyegon returns from maternity leave to race at Prefontaine Classic

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-04 22:10:13|Editor: Xiaoxia
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NAIROBI, June 4 (Xinhua) -- Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon will make her first return to action in two years at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting in Eugene, Oregon in the U.S. on June 30.

The 25-year-old has been out on maternity matters and is relishing the return to action as she seeks to polish skills and shake off the rust ahead of her defending the gold medal at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar in October.

"It is a challenge to me, which I want to take in my stride. Two years away has been hard balancing between my role as a mother and training. But I feel I am getting back there and will be up against some strong candidates in my return. I want to see how my body will react in competition," said Kipyegon on Tuesday from Eldoret.

Kipyegon had early planned to delay her return to action until in 2020, but has been training since February and will prefer to dive straight back into her groove back with an eye on the World Championships.

"I am learning a lot on how to balance my interest as a mother and my athletics passion. I can't complain. I want to be fit and ready to clinch a national slot and defend my title in Tokyo in 2020," said Kipyegon.

Before she took her sabbatical for motherhood, Kipyegon had electrified the world beating South African Caster Semenya to the gold in London World Championships in a season she describes as the best in her career.

"What a great season it was winning both the Diamond League and the World Championships. It was a big thank you to my coach Bram Som for all his help in achieving the world title. That performance was unbelievable," she added.

Kipyegon is the ultimate championships performer having earned gold at the Rio Olympics and London Worlds and getting world number one tag in 2017.

Her Rio performance was one for the ages, covering the last two laps in a stunning 1:57.2 minutes.

The Kenyan record holder set her best at the 2016 Prefontaine Classic of 3:56.41, which is still the fastest ever recorded on U.S. soil.

Now Kipyegon will have to face Diamond League winner Laura Muir and reigning world number one Shelby Houlihan on return to action in Prefontaine Classic.

Their only previous meeting was at the 2017 Pre Classic 1,500, a race won by Kipyegon.

Muir, 26, won her second Diamond League trophy last year and has yet to lose outdoors on the track in 2019, her talent extending beyond the 1,500.

With Houlihan, Ethiopia's Gudaf Tsegay, Rababe Arafi and Africa champion Winny Chebet this race should be incredibly competitive.

This match-up will be just the second time that Olympic gold medalist, the Diamond League winner and reigning world number one will race against each together.