Faith Kipyegon's Inspirational Journey: From Motherhood to athletic triumph, guided by Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce

By Sports Desk October 15, 2023

Kenyan middle-distance sensation Faith Kipyegon, who had a remarkable 2023, setting world records and clinching gold medals at the World Championships in Budapest, has revealed a deeply personal and inspiring aspect of her journey.

Kipyegon, who is the favorite for the World Athletics' Women Athlete of the Year for 2023, credited none other than Jamaican sprinting legend Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce as the driving force behind her triumphant return to athletics.

Kipyegon's journey to success included a maternity break in 2017, a pause she took to welcome her daughter Alyn in June 2018. Since her return, she has consistently delivered stellar performances, proving that motherhood need not be a barrier to athletic achievement. However, her path to victory wasn't always straightforward, and it was during these challenging times that Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce's story served as a guiding light.

Fraser-Pryce, renowned for her blistering speed on the track, chose to put her career on hold in 2017 to give birth to her son, Zyon. In the years that followed, she not only made a stunning return to athletics winning World 100m titles in 2019 and 2022, but also became an advocate for mothers, both in and beyond the world of sports.

Kipyegon reminisced about a pivotal encounter in 2019 during the World Championships in Doha, where Fraser-Pryce clinched a gold medal. It was during this meeting that Kipyegon found her inspiration.

"Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce inspired me to take maternity leave and then make a comeback. We met in 2019 in Doha, where she won gold. It was from her that I garnered the courage to believe that we can take maternity leave and still return to win on the track. This has shown other runners that it's possible to return from maternity leave and achieve victory," Kipyegon revealed in a candid interview on JK Live.

Kipyegon, who became the first woman to win the 1500m and 5000m titles at one world championships, is among 11 nominees for World Athletics’ Women Athlete of the Year along with Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson, the USA’s Sha’Carri Richardson, Gudaf Tsegay, who broke Kipyegon’s 5000m world record in September, Tigst Assefa, Femke Bol from the Netherlands, Japan’s Haruka Kitaguchi, Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas, Winfred Yavi of Bahrain, Yaroslava Mahuchikh of Ukraine and Spain’s Maria Perez.

The story of Faith Kipyegon's triumphant return to athletics serves as an inspiration not just for athletes but for all mothers who aspire to achieve their dreams while embracing the joys of motherhood. It highlights the power of determination, perseverance, and the support and inspiration one can find in the experiences of fellow athletes like Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

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