Uganda’s long-distance athlete Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei on Sunday won Uganda’s first gold medal at the ongoing World Athletics Championship Hayward in Eugene, Oregon, United States of America.
The star athlete endured lots of pressure form a strong field, but he crossed the line faster to defend his 10,000m title. He finished in a time of 27:27.43 minutes to defend the title he won at the 2019 Edition of the World Athletics Championships held in Doha.
Kenya’s Stanley Mburu came second with a time of 27: 27.90 seconds, while another Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo settled for a bronze in 27:27.93 minutes.
Cheptegei produced a masterclass performance in the last lap to beat close competition from Ethiopia’s Selemon Brega, Mburu and Grant Fisher. Uganda’s Steven Kissa also finished last in the race.
He joined the list of iconic athletes who managed to defend their titles like Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele who won the title in 2007 and defended it in 2009, and Mo Farah. She won the title in 2013, 2015 and 2017 among others.
It was also sweet revenge for Cheptegei who Ethiopia’s Barega beat to win Gold over the 25 -lap distance during the Olympic Games back in Tokyo last year. But Cheptegei went on to win gold in the 5,000m final at the Olympics.
According to the individual event prize money for the 2022 World Athletics championship, a gold winner bags USD 70,000. After successfully defending his 10,000m title, Cheptegei will now switch focus to competing in the 5000m later in the same championship.
Cheptegei, who has held the world record at 12:35.36 since 2020 has only raced once on the track in 2022, winning the promotional 5000m at the Wanda Diamond League Meeting in Eugene on 27 May 2022 in 12:57.99 minutes.