Joshua Cheptegei. Courtesy photo
Joshua Cheptegei suffered a set back when he finished sixth in the 5000m, clocking 12:54.69 at the third meet of the 2021 Diamond League in Florence, Italy.
His rival, 20-year old Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigsten, won the race with a World lead, a Personal Best and a European Record of 12:48.45.
Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet came second with a time of 12:49.02, followed by Ahmed Mohamed (Canada), Katir Mohamed (Spain) and Knight Justyn (Canada) in a first race where about five athletes recorded their personal bests.
Cheptegei was on course for another routine win but the world recorder holder ran out of steam in the closing stages in an elite star studded field.
The Ugandan celebrated long distance runner was a pre race favourite and was in control in extended stretches before late kicks from Ingebrigsten as four others also perfectly through their gears to outpace Cheptegei in an epic finale.
The race came 300 days since he broke the 16-year old 5000m world record in Monaco, coming home in 12:35.36 to beat Kenenisa Bekele’s previous best of 12:37.35.
Whether this rare performance will have a deteriorating effect on Cheptegei’s bid for a double come 2020 Tokyo Olympics, remains to be known.
Winnie Nanyondo finished fifth with a time of 4:00.46 in the Women’s 1500m won by Hassan Sifa who was followed by Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon, Great Britain’s Laura Muir and Canadian Debues Gabriella in that order.
Albert Chemutai finished 10th (8:23.96) in the 3000m men’s steeplechase that was won by El Bakkali Soufiane of Morocco who beat Ethiopian Takele Bikila Tadese.