There was no Ugandan athlete in better shape than Jacob Kiplimo at the start of 2019.
The teenager was winning races for fun, seven in total, on the cross-country circuit across Europe before taking the national title in Tororo.
He wound up that season with a silver medal behind compatriot Joshua Cheptegei in the senior men’s 10km race at the IAAF World Cross-country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark on March 30.
That feat only underlined the youngster as a gem. Kiplimo’s class showed again as he powered to victory with ease at the Great Manchester Run on May 19.
Unfortunately, Kiplimo’s steam burnt out before he could grace the track. The 18-year-old has suffered stomach and right leg muscle problems. He has not run a race since.
His program in preparations for the Doha World Championships was watered down as he missed the IAAF Diamond League (DL) Meet events in Rome (on June 6), Eugene (June 30) and London (July 21).
“He was supposed to run in Rome but had to go back (to Kapchorwa) come due to stomach problems,” said Beppe Picotti, one of Kiplimo’s Italian managers from Rosa Associati.
Now? “He has a small problem on the tibialis anterior muscle. He skipped races in June/July but we are going to prepare something for next month,” Picotti noted.
By virtue of finishing in the top 15 of the senior men’s race at the World Cross-country, Kiplimo automatically qualified for the 10000m final at the Doha Worlds.
He will however give up on competing over the long-distance double at Doha as he missed the two-mile run in Eugene and two 5000m events in Rome and London.
“Only 10000m at the moment (for Kiplimo), he has minimum requirement already.” He however, can still qualify for Doha over the 12-and-a-half lap race if he runs under 13:22.50 before September 7.
Kiplimo, whose last track race was 381 days ago at the World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland, only warmed up with his compatriots but he did not run at the two-day National Track and Field Championships at Namboole over the weekend.
“The main thing is Doha for him which is a no worry,” added Picotti. The Worlds come September 27 - October 6 at the Khalifa International Stadium.
KIPLIMO AT A GLANCE
Date of birth: November 14, 2000
Major events: 5000m, 10000m
Personal Bests: 13:13.64 (5000m), 27:26.6 (10000m)
Manager: Federico Rosa
Coach: Guisseppe Gambrone
2016 World Jnr 10000m Bronze
2017 World Cross-Country Jnr Men’s 8km Gold
2018 World Jnr 10000m Silver
2019 World Cross-Country Snr Men’s 10km Silver
2019 World Cross-country: 2nd (Senior Men’s 10km)
2018 World Jnr Champs: 2nd (10000m), 6th (5000m)
2018 Commonwealth Games: 4th (10000m)
2017 London World Champs: 22nd (10000m Heats)
2016 Rio Olympics: 26th (5000m Heats)
2016 World Jnr Champs: 3rd (10000m)