Uganda celebrated another long distance race medal after Joshua Cheptegei was all smiles on Friday night upon winning a silver medal in the ongoing IAAF World Champions London.
Cheptegei tried his best to overcome Olympic champion Mo Farah in his final 10 000 metres race but the 34-year-old Briton held everyone off and to win gold.
With silver in the bag he is returning home a national hero. He paced forward on the sound of the bell and passed fellow East Africans, Kenya’s Paul Kipngetich Tanui and Bedan Karoki Muchiri from 5th position to finish 2nd.
“I’m just so happy. I am so grateful. You know, running here in London and going back with a silver medal. I am so happy,” Cheptegei said after the race.
To many Ugandans, the silver was enough.
President Museveni, Opposition leaders, journalists and fans took to their social media pages to congratulate Cheptegei on making Uganda proud.
This win silences those people who doubted him after what happened during the World Cross Country Championships held in March at Kololo, Kampala when he seemed to either run out of breath or steam and limped across the finish line in a race he was leading.
“Now I feel happy because I have a medal at senior; Kampala wasn’t my day. Today is my day,” he added.
This is Cheptegei’s first senior athletics medal. His silver medal adds onto the other world medals that Uganda has won over the years: gold in the 400 metres by John Akii Bua at the 1972 summer Olympics in Munich; gold from Dorcus Inzikuru in the 3000 metres steeple chase in Helsinki 2005; Stephen Kiprotich’s gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics; Davis Kamoga’s silver medal in 400 metres in Athens 1997.
Kamoga had also previously won bronze during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics in the same distance. Moses Kipsiro’s 5000 metres bronze medal in Osaka 2007 and Solomon Muntai’s bronze medal in the 42 km race in Beijing 2015 complete the country’s international medals haul..
PML DAILY congratulates Joshua Cheptegei for making Uganda proud.