Five years ago, Joshua Cheptegei finished a distant sixth, clocking 27:10.06, as Mo Farah lived as advertised to defend the 10,000m at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Farah finished with a time of 27:05.17 then, powering past Paul Tanui (Kenya) and Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola who settled for silver and bronze in that order.
During the same games, Jacob Kiplimo was a lowly 26th in the 5000m which were also won by Farah!
In 2017, Cheptegei was second, just behind Farah at the 2017 World Championships in London.
On Friday, the British long distance runner looked a shadow of himself when he crossed the line at 27:46.04 at the British Olympic Trials in Manchester.
The time was not enough for the Somali-born to earn a ticket to the forthcoming Tokyo Olympic games. The most decorated athlete in Bristish Athletics History will not be able to defend his crown!
And as the Britons mourn for their Sir, the Ugandans are celebrating silently as the possibility of a one-two at the 10,000m is within reach.
Since the 2016 Rio Olympics, Cheptegei has grown into a force to reckon. He has broken four World records, including the 10,000m on 7 October 2020, in Valencia, where he set a time of 26:11.00 to erase the previous best of Kenenisa Bekele’s 15-year-old record by more than 6 seconds!
Earlier, he had won the double (5000m and 10,000m) at the 2019 World Championships in Doha.
On the other side, youngster Jacob Kiplimo has been lurking before coming out of Cheptegei’s shadow, announcing himself officially when he defied odds to win the 2020 World Half Marathon in Gydnia Poland.
He recently clocked 26:33.93 in Ostrava to record the seventh fastest time at the distance this year, a big achievement for the youngster who was not wearing the controversial Nike’s Next Generation Superspikes in that race.
Without Mo Farah on track, the Ugandan duo will fancy their chances for the two top spots, but will face challenges in form of a star studded Kenyan team that has Geoffrey Kamworor, Rodgers Kwemoi and Weldon Kipkrui.
Reigning World Championship silver medalist Selemon Barega (Ethiopia) is the other contender for the vacant 10000m throne.
The men’s 10,000 metres event at the 2020 Summer Olympics is scheduled to take place on 30 July 2021 at the Japan National Stadium.
Lato milk and Absa bank have been part of Uganda’s preparations for the athletes as the country target to improve on their medal tally.
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