Chelimo buoyant, Cheptegei focused

Great effort. Chelimo ran a composed race and demonstrated stellar finishing kick to beat the pack in Heat One of the 5000m on Friday morning. PHOTO/AFP

What you need to know:

  • There are also exciting Kenyans Nicholas Kipkorir, Daniel Ebenyo and Jacob Krop as well as 1500m silver medallist Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Commonwealth silver medallist Mohammed Ahmed geared for silverware.

Team Uganda will present two runners Oscar Chelimo and Olympic champion Joshua Cheptegei in the men’s 5000m final as the Oregon World Athletics Championships wrap up in the early hours of Monday.
The pair automatically qualified after first and fourth place finishes in Heat 1 of the 12-and-a-half-lap race at the Hayward Field on Thursday evening on the US west coast.

Chelimo, 20, fashioned the better display of the two by coming through on the outside lane to beat three men, including Cheptegei, and win the race in a time of 13 minutes and 24.24 seconds.
“I am happy to be in the final,” a happy Chelimo said after finishing ahead of American Grant Fisher, 2019 silver medallist Ethiopian Selemon Barega and Cheptegei.
That quartet was separated by 24 micro seconds after a late reaction following a largely slow race amid humid conditions.  
Fisher and Barega posted an identical 13:24.44 for second and third while Cheptegei, who is pursuing a double, posted 13:24.47.

“It was more of like a tactical race and it finished like a championship,” remarked Cheptegei, who won the 5000m titles at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Japan as well as the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.
“You know everybody wanted to be in the finals so I really think it’s going to be a strong field in the finals,” the 25-year-old noted.

Uganda’s third entrant Peter Maru posted 13:47.65 in 14th place, far away from the desired top five finishers per Heat and the next fastest five.
Of the trio from Uganda, it is Chelimo who impressed most. A half-brother of 10000m bronze medallist Jacob Kiplimo, Chelimo first came to the scene in 2018 when he won 3000m bronze at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The following year, he scooped an individual bronze medal and led the junior men’s team to the team silver medal during the World Cross-country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark.
Chelimo stopped in the 5000m at the Doha Worlds in Qatar later in 2019 and during the Olympics last August, he finished a distant 16th in the final.
“After Tokyo, I asked myself what happened. Then I realised it was the training. So then after that, my coach (Guiseppe Giambrone) changed the programme for me. Now I see my body is in good state,” the 20-year-old narrated.

After winning the Heat, Chelimo is confident of the final. “Yes, I am proud of this event and it is my first race to show the world that my target is in the final.
“So I tell my fans wherever they are, tune in on the 24th. My target is to be the champion, I have improved a lot with speed work,” he added. 
This is the most that Italy-based Chelimo has spoken confidently.

It is easy to look over his words, especially with a stern 15-man field, including a focused Cheptegei, a hungry Barega and two other Ethiopians Yomif Kejelcha and defending champion Edris Muktar.
There are also exciting Kenyans Nicholas Kipkorir, Daniel Ebenyo and Jacob Krop as well as 1500m silver medallist Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Commonwealth silver medallist Mohammed Ahmed geared for silverware.

MEN’S 5000M CHAMPIONS
2003 Saint-Denis
Eliud Kipchoge    KEN

2005 Helsinki
Benjamin Limo    KEN

2007 Osaka
Bernard Lagat     USA

2009 Berlin
Kenenisa Bekele     ETH

2011 Daegu
Mo Farah     GBR

2013 Moscow
Mo Farah    GBR

2015 Beijing
Mo Farah     GBR

2017 London
Muktar Edris    ETH

2019 Doha
Muktar Edris    ETH

World Championships
Today | Ugandans in action 
4:35am: Women’s 800m Semifinal
Halimah Nakaayi
MONDAY
4:05am: Men’s 5000m Final
J. Cheptegei, Oscar Chelimo
4:35am: Women’s 800m Final
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