UNITED STATES: Uganda Olympic champions Joshua Cheptegei and Oscar Chelimo will compete in the men’s 5000m final on the last day of the Oregon World Athletics Championships on Monday, hoping to round off Uganda’s performance on a strong note.
The early hours of Monday (East African time) will need something extraordinary from Cheptegei, who is attempting to become just the third man in history to complete a long-distance double at the Worlds.
Cheptegei qualified in fourth position in Heat 1 on Thursday with a time of 13:24.47. Oscar Chelimo, his younger compatriot, won it in 13:24.24, but the two Ugandans had already scented a difficult field.
The pack for the 12-and-a-half-lap race final comprises three Ethiopians: reigning champion Edris Muktar, Selemon Barega, who placed second to him in the Doha Worlds in Qatar, and Yomif Kejelcha, who finished second in the world 10,000m in 2019.
Barega, who won 10,000m Olympic gold in Japan’s capital Tokyo last year, was defeated handily in the 25-lap final here a week ago, and he is determined to stop Cheptegei.
Kenya, with three entrants, has Nicholas Kipkorir, Daniel Ebenyo, and Jacob Krop all pumped up. Kenya has not enjoyed joy in this tournament since Benjamin Limo won it 17 years ago in Finland’s capital, Helsinki.
However, the East Africans must be concerned about Grant Fisher, who finished fourth in the 10000-meter final, and his training partner Mohammed Ahmed, who is from Canada. Ahmed won 5000m bronze in Doha.