Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei has delivered a sizzling final lap to win his second successive world 10,000 metres gold, underlining the world record holder’s status as the sport’s number one distance runner.
Cheptegei kept his patience during a fascinating finale on Sunday as he led a group of eight at the bell but, unlike in last year’s Olympics when he was outkicked on the final lap, he had already been pouring on the pressure and was strong enough to hold off all-comers to win in 27:27.43 minutes.
“I did not aim to run really fast because of the heat, the Sun was very strong,” Cheptegei said.
“I knew that if I get into the last fight, I can control it and I could speed it up. I was able to get stronger and keep it faster and faster.”
Kenya’s Stanley Mburu, who took a heavy fall on the first lap, finished second in 27:27.90, with Jacob Kiplimo, third in Tokyo, getting another bronze for Uganda in 27:27.97.
Fast-finishing Grant Fisher just ran out of track in his bid to win a first medal in the event for the United States, finishing fourth, with Ethiopia’s Olympic champion Selemon Barega unable to repeat his Tokyo fireworks as he finished fifth.
“I did not only expect to get a medal in Eugene but I was targeting the gold,” Barega said.
“This definitely was a big lesson for me and I will try to not to repeat it in the future. I still plan to run 5000m here so I hope to bring some better result for my country.”
Cheptegei, who also took a silver in the event in 2017 and who won Olympic gold over 5,000m last year, will now attempt the elusive double when going again over 5,000 later in the week in Eugene.
“It was very emotional for me to come back to the USA where I started my international career in 2014 (winning the world junior 10,000m title in Eugene),” he said.
“Now, I want to continue my dominancy in the long distance running and I hope I will manage it.”