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Cheptegei has what it takes to be World Athletics Champion

FILE PHOTO: Favourites today, Cheptegei, Mo Farah and Kamworwor.

Friday

1,500m heats – 9.40 pm (Esther Chebet)

10,000m final – 11.20pm (Cheptegei, Toroitich, Kurong)

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |  Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei has all it takes to be crowned a World Athletics champion.

At 20, he’s already tested glory as world junior champion, has one of the world’s top fastest times in the 5,000m and 10,000m, and has had three years – with the right mixture of highs and lows – to prepare himself.

Despite his credentials, Cheptegei will walk onto the London track at 11pm Friday as a Dark Horse candidate.

All eyes will be on Britain’s Mohamed Farah, and for a good reason. The Briton has already won world doubles (10,000m and 5000m) in 2013 and 2015 and Olympic doubles in 2012 and 2016.

Mo has toyed with his challengers in each of those past events, destroying them in the last of the 25 lap event. This is his final World Champs and all indications he could do it one last time.

Next in rank is World cross-country champion and world silver medallist Geoffrey Kamworor from Kenya, and if you add in the Ethiopians,  expect one of the fastest 10,000m times ever at the London World Athletics championships Friday night.

Mo has picked himself from the floor more than once to keep his doubles reign going so far, but tonight, any error will be punished, either by the Kenyan and Ethiopians, or the Ugandans.

Talking team tactics, Tim Toroitich and Martin Kurong will provide sufficient pace to back Cheptegei – and when opportunity comes, go for it themselves.

In steps Cheptegei with 3 reasons

Cheptegei will have three reasons to go for it tonight.

First, he will wish to put to rest the ghosts of the World Cross-Country Championships in Kampala, when he led the men’s race until the final lap and collapsed to end in 30th position.

He misjudged his pace, the experts say, but it showed he will be comfortable with a furious pace at the start of the 10,000m in London. The final lap, again, will be telling.

Secondly, in the absence of Stephen Kiprotich, he carries the burden as Uganda’s main medal hope in London, venue of his senior’s greatest triumph – Gold in the 2012 Olympics.

Thirdly, other than Dorcus Inzikuru (Chile 2000 U-20 5000m gold & Helsinki 2005 3000mSC gold) , Uganda’s stars at world junior level have struggled to step up into the senior events. The likes of Boniface Kiprop struggled to match their junior performance at senior level.

Cheptegei has run few races since the world cross country championships debacle in March, but in each of them, he has shown he is fully recovered to take on the world’s best.

Cheptegei finished third in the 5000m last month at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Lausanne, in an impressive personal best time of 12:59.83 to qualify for the 5000m Diamond League final in Zurich on August 24.

A month earlier, Cheptegei showed he is back on form with a 4th place, this time in the 3000m at the Paris Diamond Athletics League.

Britain’s Mo Farah (R) shakes hands with Uganda’s Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei after they competed in the Men’s 5000m Round 1 during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 17, 2016.  AFP PHOTO

Who is Cheptegei?

Since Cheptegei joined university in August 2013 he started training seriously. He competed in national races and eventually represented his university at the World University Cross Country Championships where he took the gold medal. Joshua made his international debut at the TCS World 10k in Bangalore where he surprisingly took the second place behind World Half Marathon Champion Geoffrey Kamworor.

As the fastest athlete in the field, Joshua traveled to Eugene for the 2014 World Junior Championships. He lived up to the expectations and won the golden 10.000m medal for Uganda.

As a strong 10.000m athlete, Joshua wanted to break the Ugandan National Record over 10k in 2015. He chose the fast 10k course of Berlin to give it a try. After a slow start of the race, he pushed the pace in the second part of the race. He secured the win and set a new national record of 27:50!

After some time training in Kenya, Joshua went back to Uganda to train in Kapchorwa. He had a great start of 2016 by winning the Laredo 10k in a new national record of 27:46. Followed by a victory in the Carslbad 5k. He then moved his focus to the track for the rest of the year. Shanghai Diamond League 5000m was his first track race of the season. He took second in a new personal best of 13:00.60.

Cheptegei represented Uganda in the 10,000m and the 5000m at the Rio Olympics in 2016. He ran a strong 10,000m race and finished as number six in a new personal best of 27:10.06. One week later he finished 8th in the 5000m final.

*additional reporting by globalsportscommunication

LONDON 2017 10,000m start list

ORDER / LANE BIB ATHLETE COUNTRY SB 2017 PB
1 735 Abraham Naibei CHEROBEN BRNBRN 27:38.76 27:31.86
2 1142 Bedan Karoki MUCHIRI KENKEN 27:40.3 26:52.36
3 1341 Polat Kemboi ARIKAN TURTUR 27:42.55 27:35.50
4 908 Jemal YIMER ETHETH 27:09.08 27:09.08
5 1148 Paul Kipngetich TANUI KENKEN 27:42.6 26:49.41
6 685 Onesphore NZIKWINKUNDA BDIBDI
7 845 Bayron PIEDRA ECUECU 29:03.93 27:32.59
8 1416 Shadrack KIPCHIRCHIR USAUSA 27:32.18 27:32.18
9 1277 Stephen MOKOKA RSARSA 29:28.74 27:40.73
10 749 Mohammed AHMED CANCAN 27:30.00 27:30.00
11 898 Abadi HADIS ETHETH 27:08.26 26:57.88
12 1363 Timothy TOROITICH UGAUGA 28:02.23 27:31.07
13 1222 Zane ROBERTSON NZLNZL 27:33.67
14 1417 Leonard Essau KORIR USAUSA 27:29.40
15 852 Aron KIFLE ERIERI 29:11.42 27:26.20
16 849 Nguse AMLOSOM ERIERI 28:08.58 27:28.10
17 1425 Hassan MEAD USAUSA 27:34.38 27:33.04
18 853 Hiskel TEWELDE ERIERI 28:26.50 27:30.50
19 655 Patrick TIERNAN AUSAUS 27:29.81 27:29.81
20 954 Mohamed FARAH GBRGBR 27:12.09 26:46.57
21 1359 Moses Martin KURONG UGAUGA 27:22.33 27:22.33
22 1130 Geoffrey Kipsang KAMWOROR KENKEN 27:35.9 26:52.65
23 1356 Joshua Kiprui CHEPTEGEI UGAUGA 27:10.06
24 894 Andamlak BELIHU ETHETH 27:20.57 27:20.57

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