Faith Chepng’etich Kipyegon – the 2016 RIO Olympics 1500m champion- shot to fame on social media for a photo posted during the medal ceremony in Brazil where she glowed under make up as the cyber world tripped over in hailing her beauty.
This was in contrast to pictured taken moments after she showed Ethiopia’s world record holder and fellow track beauty, Genzebe Dibaba, a clean pair of heels over the closing 300m for the gold in 4:08.92 where she was beside herself with belief as tears of joy streamed down her face.
During her colourful homecoming party at her home village of Ndabibit, Kuresoi, she also mesmerised her growing fan base with her glaring beauty as she stakes a claim to be the poster girl of the country’s female distance running.
Questions on who was responsible for Kipyegon’s make-up flooded the Internet since her appearance flies against the norm among her Kalenjin community where girls are taught to be reserved about their beauty.
And, surprisingly, she later on revealed to Chamgei FM that the choice and application of her facial beauty all her own doing.
“I thought I had to look really good in appearance considering I was the face of my community and, for that matter, also the face of my country. I come from a very beautiful country so I needed to look beautiful too.
“Yes it’s true that all these I did on my own,” the ecstatic Olympic champion disclosed.
“I am used to doing things my own way. Fact being that in our society we are not used to doing this. But you see I am a young lady I’m still growing and in that process I have to look good,” she added in melodious laughter.
Kipyegon added that female Kenyan athletes have done so well in letting their talents light up the athletics scene all over the world but it was high time they also embraced their personal beauty.
“Athletes from other countries are usually very cautious about their outward appearance. They have fancy hairstyles, a lot of make-up. Fashion can’t be ignored at this time when social interactions are becoming increasingly important in our lives. Like them, we are also able to have better looks,” Kipyegon advised.
The 22 year-old running beauty added the Olympics title to the silver medal she won at last year’s IAAF World Championships in Beijing where she finished behind Genzebe, the younger sibling of the Dibaba fearsome distance running female dynasty.
Kipyegon is a two-time IAAF World Junior and World Cross junior gold winner as well as winning the 2014 Africa Cross senior title to add to her continental junior crown from 2012.
She is the national 1500m record holder after running 3:56.41 at the Pre Fontaine Classic IAAF Diamond League meeting in Oregon.
Report by Carol Kones.