World Championships 2023: Laura Muir sixth as Faith Kipyegon wins third title

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Laura Muir finished sixth in the women’s 1500m final as Faith Kipyegon claimed her third World Championships gold in dominant fashion in Budapest.

An emotional Muir, winner of world bronze last year, faded to finish in three minutes 58.58 seconds after the most challenging year of her career.

Kenya’s world record holder Kipyegon appeared in control throughout, taking victory in 3:54.87.

Ethiopia’s Diribe Welteji beat Dutch athlete Sifan Hassan to bronze.

Britons Katie Snowden (3:59.65) and Melissa Courtney-Bryant (4:03.31) placed eighth and 12th respectively.

Kipyegon has proven untouchable this year, setting three world records over as many distances.

The two-time Olympic champion led from the front, controlling proceedings at a comfortable pace when compared to that of her record time of 3:49.11 set in June.

That all changed in the closing stages, the 29-year-old displaying her class and superiority as she effortlessly left her rivals behind with an injection of pace.

British team captain Muir’s medal bid faltered over the final 200m as Welteji got closest to Kipyegon and Hassan claimed bronze after recovering from her dramatic fall as she battled for 10,000m gold on Saturday.

Muir unable to match bronze after rollercoaster year

By her own admission, 2023 has been a “rollercoaster” for Muir and far from the distraction-free build-up she would have ideally liked before her latest bid to make a global podium.

The Olympic silver medallist unexpectedly split with long-term coach Andy Young in March, walking out of a training camp alongside team-mate Jemma Reekie after a falling out.

The uncertainty which followed led to an inconsistent season in which Muir lost her British title – although she did hint at a return to form when breaking Zola Budd’s 38-year British mile record in July.

Last year’s gritty third place behind Kipyegon and Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia was deserved reward for the tenacious Scot, who had narrowly missed out on a medal at the previous three world finals by finishing fifth, fourth and fifth.

But there was to be no repeat of last year’s gutsy podium at the end of a turbulent season – although she previously stated that she already felt like a winner following significant change away from the track.

“I thought I positioned myself for the race, I was covering moves but that last lap was crazy,” Muir told BBC Sport.

“It’s another one of those crazy finals but I feel like I won even before I came into this race because I’m happy and I can’t thank the number of people who’ve supported me, it’s been amazing.”

Acknowledging team-mates Snowden and Courtney-Bryant’s efforts, she added: “These two have done great and I am so proud of them. I gave it everything I could today.”

Fitting end to Kipyegon’s remarkable season

It was in her final pre-championship 1500m race before Budapest that Kipyegon broke the 1500m mark, leaving Muir a distant second at the Florence Diamond League.

In a remarkable season, the Kenyan set a 5,000m record of 14:05.20 one week later in Paris, before going on to clock 4:07.64 to smash Hassan’s mile mark in July, leaving her as one of the standout favourites in Budapest.

“I wanted to run my race,” said Kipyegon. “We are all strong in the final. The ladies were very strong and I was pushing this race to that limit.

“These days in the 1500m, if you want to win [you must run] 3:55 and below.”

Hassan, who set out to contest three golds at these championships, ensured she will take a medal home after she was left empty-handed in a late coming together with Tsegay – with the 5,000m to come.

More to follow.

Credit TO Owner