Faith Chepng’etich, 27


She was among three first-time mothers that proved a great inspiration at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

After winning her maiden Olympic title in 1,500m at the 2016 Rio Summer Games, Faith Chepngétich went on to claim her first world title over the distance at the 2017 London World Athletics Championships.

She then took a break to give birth to her daughter.

On return, Cheng’etich would settle for silver in the 1,500m at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha in a National Record-breaking time of 3:54.22, losing the title to Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan.

"I am now an example of how someone can come back stronger and I hope this will motivate young athletes not to give up after having a baby."

But Chepng’etch signalled her return when she outclassed Hassan and retained her Olympic title in the Games Record time of 3:53.11 on August 6, a month after she broke her own National Record with victory at Monaco Diamond League in personal best 3:51.07.

Other athletes who registered impressive performances after giving birth are Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce from Jamaica who settled for silver in 100m and gold in 4x100m besides finishing in 200m at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

American Shelly-Ann, 34, was not only questioned about her fitness after giving birth but also for her age. But she proved doubters wrong when she claimed the bronze medal, her 10th overall Olympic medal in the 400 metres final.

Chepng’etich said no woman should let her talent die after giving birth. “I just want to inspire young mothers out there that everything is possible after giving birth.”

“I am now an example of how someone can come back stronger and I hope this will motivate young athletes not to give up after having a baby.” She called on men to support their wives by making sure that they return to training after giving birth.

“When I wake up every day in her presence, it makes me work harder, knowing that I must play my role as a parent and role model in providing for her future.”

However, Chepng’etich added that when she took time out to have a baby, it wasn’t easy to make a return.

After a whole year without running, Chepng’etich gained weight from 45kg to 53kg. “You get to lose fitness but that didn’t bar me from making a return.”

On return to training, Chepng’etich moved her base from Keringet, Nakuru to Kaptagat, Elgeyo Marakwet where she joined coach Patrick Sang’s group of Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge and former world half marathon Geoffrey Kamwowor.

“You get to learn a lot from such a group of experienced athletes and coaches.”

Ayumba Ayodi