Uganda’s trio of Joshua Cheptegei, Jacob Kiplimo and Stephen Kissa will be hoping to secure the first medals for their country at the on-going Olympic games when they take on a strong field in the 10000m Men’s race on Friday.
All eyes will be on Cheptegei for obvious reasons – He is the World Record holder at the distance thanks to his Valencia assault when he reduced a then Kenenisa Bekele’s 15-year old record to set a time of 26:11.00.
He won gold at the 2019 World Championship in Doha at the distance.
The Alpha male will have to exorcise his demons at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast that saw him scoop the 5000m and 10,000 double. He’s entered for both events in Tokyo.
The treasured Ugandan is just missing an Olympics medal in his bag to cement his legacy.
Without Mo Farah who won the 10,000 and 5000m at both 2012 London and 2016 Rio Olympics, Cheptegei is an odds favourite.
Cheptegei’s close competitor and friend Geoffrey Kamworor from Kenya withdrew recently due to an injury.
Leading the chasing pack will be his national teammate Jacob Kiplimo who posted a World Leading 26:33.93 time this year in Ostrava which is the second (to Cheptegei’s WR time) time since 2008 and seventh in the World all time list.
Kenya have added Rhonex Kipruto to their team of Rodgers Kwemoi and Weldon Kipkirui and are expected to ask plenty of questions at a distance they have struggled to register success.
Ethiopia surely pose the biggest challenge thanks to a stunning field of Yomif Kejelcha who finished second to Cheptegei in Doha, Selemon Barega and Berihu Aregawi.