Chep, Kiplimo go for more glory in Bathurst

Kiplimo (L) and Cheptegei (middle) are among the favourites in Australia. PHOTO/COURTSEY 

What you need to know:

Cheptegei and Kiplimo powered to a 1-2 finish ahead of Kenyan two-time winner Geoffrey Kamworor over the senior men’s 10km race at the Moesgaard Museum in Aarhus on March 30, 2019.

Uganda has emerged and inevitably caused a shift in power from Kenya and Ethiopia over the past two editions of the World Cross-country Championships.

The Kampala 2017 and Aarhus 2019 editions in Uganda and Denmark respectively have yielded a combined four individual medals and five team medals.

With Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo returning to the fray, Team Uganda will hope to dominate the show when Australia stages the 44th World Cross-country Championships tomorrow at Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst.

Cheptegei and Kiplimo powered to a 1-2 finish ahead of Kenyan two-time winner Geoffrey Kamworor over the senior men’s 10km race at the Moesgaard Museum in Aarhus on March 30, 2019.

But it has taken four years to have a shot at a title defence here owing to postponements brought by the Covid-19 pandemic and then the Australian travel restrictions. Irrespective, the goals are intact.

“A gold medal of course,” Cheptegei’s coach Addy Ruiter stated upon reaching Australia. “Let’s bring it on,” Cheptegei posted via Instagram.

His triumph in Aarhus psychologically helped him overcome the bizarre wither from first to 30th position in front of President Yoweri Museveni in Kololo back in 2017.

Cheptegei has since followed that Aarhus delight with two world 10000m titles, then four world records (WRs), a 10000m bronze and a 5000m gold from the Olympics.

Yet, Kiplimo who adds steel to the senior men’s team comprising rookie Rogers Kibet, Isaac Kibet, national champion Martin Kiprotich and Samuel Kibet, is in Bathurst on a mission too.

“I am happy to be in the team. My target is to be on the podium,” he said in an interview. Kiplimo has won an individual medal at every World Cross-country appearance, a junior men’s gold in 2017 too.

Whenever Cheptegei and Kiplimo have entered for the same race lately, Uganda has delighted. In 2020, Kiplimo won gold while Cheptegei came fourth at the World Half-Marathon Championships in Gdynia, Poland.

Cheptegei then won silver while Kiplimo picked bronze over the 10000m at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Japan. At that same championship in 2021, Kiplimo broke down the field to thrust Cheptegei to 5000m Olympic gold.

Last year, Cheptegei retained his 10000m gold while Kiplimo picked bronze at the Oregon World Championships in Eugene, USA.

They want more in Bathurst, especially Kiplimo who also picked the Commonwealth double in Birmingham, England. “Last year was a good year for me, the season was fantastic. I think for me actually, 2023 now is coming because I know that I am going to do a lot.

“To me, my training in the last two months and a few weeks, the body is good,” Kiplimo said.

For Cheptegei, he needed to recover from a five-month knee problem to win the NN San Silvestre 10K in Madrid, Spain on New Year’s Eve and Ruiter says he’s now recovered.

Despite having different managements, Cheptegei and Kiplimo have trained together over the past few weeks in Teryet.

“I think actually, you know everyone there is going to target a medal. If anyone wins, whether Joshua or I, there is no problem. Or, any Ugandan apart from me or Joshua, if they win, we don’t have any problem as long as we are bringing medals,” Kiplimo stated.

The course in Aarhus was very difficult to conquer with a steep climb up and slope down Moesgaard, sharp turns, mud, sand and water. Ruiter and Cheptegei arrived in Bathurst earlier than the rest of the team and they concurr the conditions could be tougher as the weather forecast at race time is 35 degrees Celsius.

“Joshua is saying that’s tough like Aarhus and that’s also my opinion. The temperature will make it very tough. Joshua is in a good shape,” added Ruiter.

It is likely the field could be burnt out a little earlier hence the best-set bodies will emerge. Cheptegei and Kiplimo face the experienced Kamworor again who has backing of world half marathon silver medallist Kibiwott Kandie and Diamond League champion Nicholas Kipkorir for the team medal.

Then Olympic 10000m champion Selemon Barega together with 5km WR holder Berihu Aregawi pose the biggest threat from Ethiopia.

In the senior women’s race, 2018 Commonwealth champion Stella Chesang will lead Uganda’s charge for a first individual ladies’ medal at this championship.

She has the company of Mercyline Chelangat, world U20 5000m bronze medalist Prisca Chesang and Annet Chemengich but Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey is the favourite for the gold.

In the junior men’s race, there are only three runners and the more experienced Dan Kibet is fancied to chase the podium.

Kenneth Kiprop won the national title in Tororo back in December while Silas Rotich was fourth at the World Mountain Running Championships in Thailand last November.

However, Kenyans Ishmael Kirui and Reynold Kipkorir Cheruiyot are the favourites for that 8km title.

Then, in the mixed relay event, Ronald Musagala and Abu Mayanja will hope that their experience counts if they are to get a place on the podium but a Beatrice Chepkoech-led Kenya and Ethiopia with steeplechasers Mekides Abebe and Getnet Wale hope to retain this title.


Junior Women (6km): Risper Cherop, Peace Chebet, Charity Cherop, Bentalin Yeko, Felister Chekwemoi

Junior Men (8km): Dan Kibet, Hosea Chemutai, Kenneth Kiprop

Senior Women (10km): Prisca Chesang, Mercyline Chelangat, Stella Chesang, Annet Chemengich

Senior Men (10km): Joshua Cheptegei, Jacob Kiplimo, Rogers Kibet, Isaac Kibet, Samuel Kibet, Martin Kiprotich 

Mixed Relay Team (4 X 2km): Linda Chebet, Abu Mayanja, Knight Aciro, Ronald Musagala 

Officials: Quito Oding (Physio), Francis Demayi and Benjamin Njia (Coaches), Dominic Otuchet (Head of delegation)



2019 Aarhus: Joshua Cheptegei (Gold), Jacob Kiplimo (Silver)

2010 Bydgoszcz: Moses Kipsiro (Bronze)

2009 Amman: Moses Kipsiro (Silver)


2019 Aarhus: Oscar Chelimo (Bronze)

2017 Kololo: Jacob Kiplimo (Gold)

2009 Amman: Moses Kibet (Bronze)

2004 Brussels: Boniface Kiprop (Silver)

2003 Lausanne: Boniface Kiprop (Silver)

2002 Dublin: Boniface Kiprop (Bronze)


2019 Aarhus: Senior Men’s Gold, Senior Women’s Bronze, Junior Men’s Silver

2017 Kampala: Senior Men’s Bronze, Junior Women’s Bronze

2015 Guiyang: Senior Women’s Bronze

2011 Punta Umbria: Senior Men’s Bronze

2010 Bydgoszcz: Junior Men’s Bronze, Junior Women’s Bronze

2008 Edinburgh: Junior Men’s Bronze

2007 Mombasa: Senior Men’s Bronze

2004 Brussels: Junior Men’s Bronze

2003 Lausanne: Junior Men’s Bronze

2002 Dublin: Junior Men’s Bronze

2001 Ostend: Junior Men’s Bronze

2000 Vilamoura: Junior Men’s Bronze