KAMPALA. Day by day, Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo are slowly beginning to share the limelight of Uganda’s athletics. Cheptegei is the face because of a richer CV littered with a double Commonwealth gold and a 10000m World silver.
Rising fast, Kiplimo has a 10000m World junior silver and bronze plus a World Cross-country junior title. The two friends meet on the IAAF Cross-country Permit - at its seventh leg - the Cross Internacional de Itálica event in Seville, Spain today.
“Yes,” Cheptegei’s manager Jurrie van der Velden stated of the Kiplimo vs. Cheptegei duel. “But it is not the most important clash they will have this year,” the Dutchman said. Kiplimo has the form but Cheptegei has the pedigree. The latter is aiming to defend his title here. Last year, Cheptegei beat Kiplimo in Seville by a second to win in 30:54 minutes.
“Focus is on the World cross-country title in Denmark so I have to prepare well,” Cheptegei constantly said towards the end of 2018 after setting a 15K world record at the Seven Hills Run in Netherlands on November 18.
While Cheptegei has been igniting his flame for 2019 in company of Esther Chebet and Mande Bushendich and Dutch Roy Hoornweg in camp at Monte Gordo, South of Portugal, Kiplimo is already on fire.
The 18-year-old won the first three Permit legs in Spanish towns of Burgos, Soria and Albendacos in November before a 10K world record at the San Silvestre Vallecana road race in Spain on New Year’s eve. Part II of their clash is expected to at the World x-country in Aarhus on March 30.