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7 Kenyans Who Currently Hold World Records in Athletics
- Kenyan runners hold several records in both men's and women's races
- Eliud Kipchoge is a stalwart in the marathon, and his record will likely not be broken anytime soon
- Faith Kipyegon set two world records in eight days, catapulting herself to athletics royalty
- But who are other Kenyan athletes who hold world records?
Kenya has been on top of the athletics world for decades. Their athletes have won many medals and broken several records.
On Friday, June 9, Faith Kipoyegon became the latest Kenyan athlete to break the world record. She stunned the world by winning the 5000m race at the Paris Diamond League meet. This comes 8 days after she broke the 1500m world record.
A few countries can go toe to toe with Kenya in long and middle-distance races. Ever since Naftali Temu won the country's first gold medal at the 1968 Mexico Olympics, the East African nation has produced world-class athletes who continue to set the standard. Temu sadly passed away in 2003, but what he did for Kenyan athletics will never be forgotten.
Although Temu brought pride to Kenya with the gold medal, Kipchoge Keino remains the most influential athlete the country has ever produced. In 1965, Kipkeino broke the 3000 and 5000-meter world records, and in the 1968 Olympics, he shocked the world by winning the 1500m gold, per Daily Nation.
Furthermore, Kenyan runners have broken many records in the sport, some of which will take some time to break again. For that reason, Sports Brief takes a look at all Kenyans who hold a world record in athletics.
Faith Kipyegon (1500m, 5000m)
The double world and Olympic gold medalist set the 1500m and 5000m world records in one week. He stunned the athletics world on June 2, 2023, by clocking 3:49.11 at the Florence Diamond League meet in Italy. Eight days later, she shocked world record holder Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey to win the 5000m in Paris in the Diamond League. She clocked 14:05.20.
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Agnes Tirop (10km)
The late Tirop set the world record of 30:01 in Herzogenaurach, Germany, in 2021. She took 28 seconds off the record that had been set by Morocco’s Asmae Leghzaoui in New York on 8 June 2002. She died in October 2021.
Brigid Kosgei (Marathon)
Kosgei shattered the women's marathon record at the Chicago Marathon in 2019. Paula Radcliffe had held the record since 2003. Kosgei clocked 2:14:04, beating Radcliffe's by one minute and 21 seconds. Ruth Chepng'etich and Amane Beriso came close to breaking Kosgei's record in 2022.
Beatrice Chepkoech (3000m SC)
Chepkoech broke the record in the Diamond League in Monaco in 2018. She clocked 8:44.32, taking more than eight seconds off the women’s world 3000m steeplechase record. She obliterated the record of 8:52.78 set by Ruth Jebet of Bahrain at the Diamond League meeting in Paris in 2016, per World Athletics.
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David Rudisha (800m)
Rudisha set the 800m world record with a spectacular performance at the 2012 London Olympics. He clocked 1:40.91 and led the race from start to finish. In what was probably overall the fastest 800m race of all time, seven of the eight finalists set personal bests.
Rhonex Kipruto (10km)
Kipruto smashed the world record at the 10k Valencia Ibercaja in 2020, clocking 26:24. His performance was 14 seconds faster than Joshua Cheptegei’s mark set six weeks before. Kipruto is now the third-fastest athlete of all time. Only Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele (26:17) and Haile Gebrselassie (26:22) have run faster on the track.
Eliud Kipchoge (Marathon)
There's nothing left to say about the iconic Eliud Kipchoge. The Kenyan athletics legend sliced half a minute from his own world record to win the Berlin Marathon, clocking a sensational 2:01:09 in September 2022. In 2019, Kipchoge ran the 42.195KM distance in a remarkable unofficial time of 1:59:40:2. He is the greatest marathon runner of all time.
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Some of these records are not unbreakable, but it will take years to come close or even eclipse them.
Kipyegon breaks 5000m record in Paris
Sports Brief earlier reported on Kipyegon breaking the 5000m world record at the 2023 Paris Diamond League meet.
The Kenyan beat Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey, who happened to be the 5000m world record holder.
Kipyegon clocked 14:05.20, beating her personal best (14:31.95) she set at the distance in 2015 in Paris.