Ugandans Chelimo, Cheptegei target perfection at Rome Diamond League

Thursday June 6 2019

Cheptegei (L) and Chelimo will be in the fray

Cheptegei (L) and Chelimo will be in the fray at IAAF Rome Diamond League in Rome today. PHOTOS BY ISMAIL KEZAALA 


During Uganda’s stellar show at the IAAF World Cross-country Championships, five runners made it to the top 15 places of the senior men’s 10km race on March 30 at Aarhus, Denmark.
It implies World Cross-country champion Joshua Cheptegei, Jacob Kiplimo, Thomas Ayeko, Joel Ayeko and Albert Chemutai automatically qualified for the men’s 10000m final at the Doha World Championships set for September 27 - October 6.
Considering the avalanche of long-distance runners, now the 5000m is worth everything for many.
Uganda has three quota places for Doha and, Cheptegei and Kiplimo are intent on competing over the double.
Cheptegei qualified for the 5000m race to Doha after beating the qualification standard of 13:22.50 by finishing seventh in 13:06.68 at the Shanghai Diamond League Meeting in China on May 18.
It was Cheptegei’s first race on track in 13 months and his management is expecting a vast improvement when he lines-up tonight for the Rome Diamond League Meeting at Stadio Olimpico in Italy.
“After missing out on all Diamond League competitions in 2018, I am grateful and hopeful that I can go faster in the next Meetings,” Cheptegei posted via his Instagram handle last month. He didn’t offer a textbook display in Shanghai.
“Joshua had a rusty start of the season while running the whole race unnecessarily in lane 2 and even some times in lane 3,” his manager Jurrie van der Velden remarked.
“We have a lot of room to improve, we know he’s in good shape and we can easily adjust,” the Dutchman noted. Cheptegei should be facing his compatriot Kiplimo in Rome but the latter opted out because of stomach problems, according to his Italian manager Beppe Picotti.
However, the double Commonwealth champion Cheptegei will be in company of teenager Oscar Chelimo in the field of 22 in Rome.
Chelimo, who bagged junior men’s bronze in Aarhus, is in great stead following his victory over 3000m at the Castiglione della Pescaia International Meeting in Italy on May 26.
His manager Monica Pont Chafer believes it is time the 17-year-old should attempt to qualify for Doha
“He seems to be in steady progress,” Chafer told this paper. “But really, this athlete is very young and all of us are working for him growing step by step,” she offered.
Chelimo was seventh over the 5000m at the World Junior Championships in Tampere, Finland last year and also came sixth at the Africa U20 Championships on April 19 in Ivory Coast but he will buoyed to run faster his personal best of 13:32.94. “Rome will be a big opportunity to see him running with the best. For sure, it will not be an easy race for him, but he is very competitive and we are sure will do the best he is able to do,” added Chafer.
Cheptegei and Chelimo face Kenyans teenager Edward Zakayo and Paul Tanui, American Ben True, Canadian Mohammed Ahmed and Ethiopians Selemon Barega, Hagos Gebrhiwet Hadis Abadi and Haile Bekele. Chemutai is in the fray against 18 others over the 3000m steeplechase race.
He must run under 8:29.00 to qualify for Doha over the seven-and-a-half water-jump race.