NAIROBI – Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon said she will be grateful whenever the health condition allows the athletics competitions to resume.

Kipyegon, who returned from maternity leave in 2019, wanted to blossom in the 2020 season by dominating the Diamond League and staging a strong performance to defend her Olympic crown in Tokyo.

However, she has been unable to compete since the season started as the sports calendar continued to be wrecked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was doing very well in training in Eldoret, but that has been destroyed by the coronavirus pandemic which has halted sports globally. Though even that will not wear me out,” Kipyegon said on Tuesday from Eldoret.

“I always look forward to fighting my way to the top and even this pandemic will not slow me down. What is important at the moment is to stay safe and healthy.”

Both the Diamond League and World Athletics Continental Tour competitions have been pushed back while training camps in Kenya have been shut down.

This has forced Kipyegon to retreat back to be with her family. It offers her more bonding time with her daughter.

“My daughter is what inspires me. I want the best for her, to see her excel. It feels good being close to my baby every day after finishing my workouts,” Kipyegon added.

“My body has responded well, though the training is not too demanding. I have no injury worries,” she added.

A silver medal reward is what she got after maternity leave and returning to competition a year too early at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar last year. Now she feels strong to challenge for gold and reclaim her empire.

In her absence, Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan rose to the top winning gold in Doha and there is the resurgent Briton Laura Muir and Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba to deal with.

“With top form I was ready for the fight with my opponents in the Diamond League and the Olympics. I miss serious athletics competitions, the stadium atmosphere, the adrenaline and challenge. But we will overcome. I don’t know if we will be able to compete in 2020. Anytime we are called to action, I will be ready,” she said.

That uncertainty, the long lull, is what leaves Kipyegon with more doubts.

“For athletes, we plan and that has been taken from us. You train, but with no idea when to run it is frustrating.

“Training consecutively for over three months, or six month will be hard. For now the best plan is to plan to be fit and know that sports may not be allowed in 2020,” Kipyegon added.

But for certain, Kipyegon believes she will be ready for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games.

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