Kipyegon, Miller-Uibo, Felix relegate men to Olympic supporting cast

Shaunae Miller Uibo and Faith Kipyegon retained their titles as Allyson Felix became the most decorated female Olympic track and field athlete of all time in a sparkling penultimate session at the Olympic Stadium on Friday.

Felix’s landmark moment came when she took bronze behind a dominant Miller-Uibo in the 400 metres.

Bahamas’s Shaunae Miller-Uibo wins the women’s 400m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 6, 2021./Jewel Samad | AFP

The 35-year-old American’s 10th medal spread over 17 years saw her move to 10, one ahead of retired Jamaican sprint legend Merlene Ottey.

“It’s just joy,” said Felix, who has suffered ups and downs in the sport after a difficult pregnancy.

“This one is very different and very special. It’s my first bronze medal, it’s hard to describe. All the other ones, I was so focused on the performance and this one, it’s so much bigger than that.”

Miller-Uibo made it a remarkable Bahamian double as her male team-mate Steven Gardiner had won the men’s one-lap title on Thursday.

“I am so happy right now I could cry,” she said.

“I’ve been dealing with a whole lot of injuries and to be able to pull this one off is amazing,” added the 27-year-old.

Jamaica’s female successors to Ottey celebrated their national independence day with gold in the 4x100m relay in a national record time of 41.02sec, giving Elaine Thompson-Herah her third title in Tokyo after the 29-year-old had completed the sprint double-double earlier in the Games.

“The feeling is surreal to get three golds,” said Thompson-Herah.

Team Jamaica celebrate gold after the women’s 4x100m relay final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 6, 2021./Jewel Samad | AFP

It was also an eighth Olympic medal for one of Felix’s old adversaries turned friend 34-year-old Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

“We are so grateful to win this gold medal for Jamaica on national independence day,” said Fraser-Pryce.

“For two years we have been unimpressive, you know, so to get it back today is special.”

‘A beautiful evening’

Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon celebrates with her flag after winning the women’s 1500m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 6, 2021./Ina Fassbender | AFP

In winning Kipyegon fulfilled a wish of her young daughter, Alyn, who was born in 2018.

“Once I crossed the finish line, it was a very emotional moment for me,” said Kipyegon.

“I thought about my daughter who I left behind at home. She wanted me to bring home a gold medal, and I am so happy and excited I did that.”

In doing so the 27-year-old also ended Sifan Hassan‘s dreams of an unprecedented Olympic treble.

Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands (right) leads Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon (centre) and Great Britain’s Laura Muir in the Women’s 1500 metres final on day fourteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 06, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan./Joan Pereruan | Nation Media Group

The Ethiopian-born Dutch runner, who had won the 5000m earlier in the Games, finished a well-beaten third.

“I have already run so many kilometres, so I am super happy,” she said.

Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei made up for his tactical error in the 10,000m in which he was beaten to silver by winning the 5000m.

“It’s really a great moment,” he said. “I made a small mistake (in the 10,000m) and I was regretting having to become a silver medallist.

“I came here to become an Olympic champion and my dream has been fulfilled today in a beautiful evening.”

Winner Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei celebrates as he crosses the finish line in the men’s 5000m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 6, 2021./Ben Stansall | AFP

The Italy men’s relay quartet won the 4x100m relay for the first time in their history.

The win, as Filippo Tortu overtook Britain’s Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake on the anchor leg, gave their surprise individual 100m champion Lamont Marcell Jacobs his second gold of the Games and his country their fifth of the track and field programme.

“This is the year of Italy, this is our year,” said Jacobs.

“We won the Eurovision, we won the football European championships, we won five gold medals (in athletics).”

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