Jacob Kiplimo is on fire. His global dominance in the cross-country season continued as he beat a bunch of more experienced seniors to win the National title at Tororo Golf Course on Saturday.
The teenager showed that aged is just a number when he peeled away from title holder and familiar foe Joshua Cheptegei with about 1200m to go to win the senior men’s 10km on a hot morning.
He crossed the tape in 28 minutes and 56 seconds to immediately ooze a bright smile that lit up his face.
“I want to thank God and everyone here.” Kiplimo told Daily Monitor shortly after beating 92 others. “The race was very fantastic. It was good.”
The 18-year-old dethroned Cheptegei who had won the national x-country title in 2017 and 2018 in style. Kiplimo was as clinical in the final spell in Tororo as he were when he beat Cheptegei again at the Cross Internacional de Itálica in Santiponce near Spanish city Seville on January 20. The youngster will now head to the IAAF World Cross-country Championships due March 30 in Aarhus, Denmark beaming with confidence.
“Winning the title in Denmark is my target but I have to prepare,” Kiplimo stated who had won five events on the IAAF World Cross Country Permit and the fastest 10K time ever before Tororo. His impressed management knows the task at hand before Aarhus. “He destroyed all the other athletes,” Kiplimo’s Italian manager Beppe Picotti said. “We believe as the first year in senior category this year, he can do really good things.”
Two years ago, Kiplimo won Uganda’s first-ever individual gold at the World Cross-country when he took the junior men’s 8km gong in Kololo.
And now his star has risen so fast that in the field he beat, there was double Commonwealth gold medallist Cheptegei who came second in 29:07. Cheptegei and Kiplimo had run like Siamese twins after the half-way stage until the latter showed how good he’s been in cross-country since November.
“The race was not bad,” offered Cheptegei in company of his coach Addy Ruiter. “I had blisters in my toes that hurt later on in the race.”
Steeplechaser Albert Chemutai came third in 29:20 while two-time national champion Phillip Kipyeko was ninth. The race also had 2012 Olympic marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich who finished a further 11th. Experienced cross-country runner Timothy Toroitich was 20th.
Record six-time national cross-country winner Moses Kipsiro was present but did not run.
In the senior women’s 10km race, Stella Chesang was pretty comfortable as she headed for the final leg, consequently winning in 33:30.
“I enjoyed it but it was hot,” said Chesang who led Racheal Zena Chebet and Esther Chebet at the podium. Hosea Kiplangat and Sarah Chelangat took the junior men’s 8km and junior women’s 6km honours while Ronald Musagala and Dorcus Ajok will lead the mixed relay team to Aarhus.
National Cross Country
SENIOR WOMEN (10KM)
Stella Chesang (Police) 33:30.6
Rachael Zena Chebet (KCCA) 33:48.2
Esther Chebet (Prisons) 34:37.3
SENIOR MEN (10KM)
Jacob Kiplimo (Arua) 28:56.6
Joshua Cheptegei (Police) 29:07.2
Albert Chemutai (Arua) 29:20.3
JUNIOR WOMEN (6KM)
Sarah Chelangat (KCCA) 20:40.1
Annet Chesang (UWA) 20:49.3
Esther Chekwemoi (Police) 21:24.3
JUNIOR MEN (8KM)
Hosea Kiplangat (Arua) 23:30.7
Dan Chebet (Arua) 23:41.5
Matthew Chekwurui (Police) 23:41.7