2021 was a momentous year for athletics with many records being set for the first time, and other sporting records being broken after enduring for decades!
5 athletes who broke world records this year [Pulse Picks 2021]
Record after record after record
Let’s take a look at some of the big moments and records set by Kenyan athletes.
Faith Kipyegon set a new 1500m Olympic Record
On August 6, Faith Kipyegon retained her Olympics 1500 metres gold in an emphatic fashion at the Olympic Stadium here on Friday.
Kipyegon clocked to come home in an Olympic Record of 3:53.11 ahead of Great Britain's Laura Muir and Netherlands Sifan Hassan.
Kipyegon broke the 33-year-old Olympic record set by Romanian Paula Ivan at the Seoul Games as she clocked 3min 53.11sec in hot, humid conditions at the Olympic Stadium.
Kipyegon also became the second African woman to defend an Olympic title after becoming a mum, after Cameroonian triple Jumper Francoise Mbango.
Agnes Tirop set a new 10km record
A month before her untimely death, the late Agnes Tirop set a new world record holder in a 10km road race after clocking 30:01 during the Adizero Road to Records event in Herzogenaurach, Germany on September 12.
Tirop, who took the charge in the last two kilometres, managed to shake off her compatriots before crossing the line, lowering Paula Radcliffe’s record time of 30:21 clocked at San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2003.
Beatrice Chepkoech Breaks the 5K World Record
Beatrice Chepkoech now owns two world records. On Valentine’s day, the Kenyan distance runner, who set the world record in the steeplechase in 2018, broke the women’s world record in the 5K at the Monaco Run by completing the road race in 14:43.
The victory improved on the previous 14:48 record set by Caroline Kipkirui in a mixed-gender race and the women’s-only record of 14:44, set by Sifan Hassan in 2019.
While battling less than ideal weather conditions along the coastline of the French Riviera, Chepkoech, managed to establish an early lead with the help of her pacer, Luuk Maas. By the time she hit the first kilometre in 2:57, she was 15 seconds ahead of her next competitor, Meraf Bahta.
For the final kilometre, Chepkoech blazed through the finish with a 2:47 split to secure the world record. She averaged 4:44-mile pace on the roads, which came close to her 14:39 5,000-meter personal best on the track.
Emmanuel Wanyonyi set a new under-20 800m World Record
On August 22, Emmanuel Wanyonyi set a new championship record of 1:43.76 in the men's 800m after winning gold at the World U20 Championships at Kasarani, Nairobi.
Wanyonyi put up a devastating final kick to go past Algeria’s Mohamed Ali Gouaned who settled for silver while compatriot Noah Kibet finished third.
Kibet and Wanyonyi bolted to the leading pack straight from gun off with the Algerian lurking behind them like a scavenger.
At the bell, it was Kibet who was in the lead, Wanyonyi second while the Algerian was perched right behind them.
However, Kibet started to fade off just after the first bend with Gouaned blazing past him to come to second.
Upfront, Wanyonyi who trains in 800m legend Janeth Jepkosgei’s camp was not letting go of the lead. He instead put on the afterburners, sizzling his pace to cross the finish line first.
Joyciline Jepkosgei set a new course record at the Berlin Half Marathon
On August 22 Joyciline Jepkosgei took the GENERALI BERLIN HALF MARATHON with a spectacular course record of 65:16. The 27 year-old smashed the mark of Dutch double Olympic Champion Sifan Hassan, who had won the race with 65:45 in 2019.
Due to a tailwind during the first couple of kilometres, some very fast split times were recorded. Kenyans Joyciline Jepkosgei, Nancy Meto and Valary Aiyabei stormed through the 5 k mark in 15:02.
This was well under world-record pace. However, the global mark of 64:02 then slipped out of reach when the wind hit the runners from the front for a longer section. Nonetheless, the pace was still extraordinary fast.
The Kenyan trio passed the 10km mark in 30:29. On the way to 15km, Valary Aiyabei lost contact. In contrast, Nancy Meto managed to hold on to the former world half marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei until the final two kilometres. She was rewarded by her fine race with second place and an improvement by more than three minutes to 65:21.