Cheptegei hungrier for Paris Olympics gold

Cheptegei (C) cut a very relaxed figure during the Olympic and Paralympic Week celebrations by the French Embassy in Uganda. PHOTOS/DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE 

What you need to know:

Belgrade Miss to Paris Target. Joshua Cheptegei has rarely missed making the podium in top global championship races over the past seven years. By missing an individual medal during the World Athletics Cross-country Championships in Belgrade, Serbia last weekend, Cheptegei is hoping to bounce back with Olympic 10000m gold at the Paris 2024 Games in France come August 2.

Joshua Cheptegei is accustomed to winning. He has won eight global titles in the long-distance area since claiming 10000m gold at the 2014 World Athletics U20 Championships in Oregon, USA.

So to leave Serbian capital Belgrade without an individual from the World Athletics Cross-country Championships last weekend felt largely odd for Cheptegei.

He finished sixth in the senior men’s 10km race won by his compatriot Jacob Kiplimo. “Even if I am not the one winning, the country is winning,” the 27-year-old reacted upon returning home early this week.

“For me, teamwork is very important and that is what cross-country is about. And, I was not prepared for the World Cross-country,” he admitted. His coach Addy Ruiter earlier told this paper that the 2019 champion Cheptegei only changed his mind about Belgrade at the start of the year.

“I did not do what I always do in terms of preparation, in terms of the sessions, speed endurance. I didn’t do that because of my previous year, because of my marathon debut. (It) took time to recover, started again, and had to get qualification for the 10K. It was messed up, kind of but I am grateful.”

From the ruins of Belgrade, Cheptegei now wants to pick up track business this year. He is determined to turn around his efforts ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics in France later this year.

“And of course, normally for me, I always like such set-backs, they always make me hungrier for the future,” he said. Cheptegei is eyeing to win the 25-lap final at the    Stade de France on the evening of August 2.

“For me, I am really passionate about the 10000m title because it is one of the things that I have never won in history. I just won a silver but I want to win a gold.”

Cheptegei, who won 5000m gold and 10000m silver at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Japan three years ago, actually cut a very relaxed figure during the Olympic and Paralympic Week celebrations by the French Embassy in Uganda on Wednesday.

In company of the French Ambassador H.E Xavier Sticker, he spent three hours with pupils of the French School of Kampala, participating in a relay run and 45-minute life talk.

Cheptegei (in white) joined the group in jogging. 

He answered several questions including revealing that he runs about 140km in training every week. “This is the future of our nations. This is the future of the world. And it is here where children become what we want in society,” Cheptegei said.

Through his organisation Joshua Cheptegei Foundation, he runs a partnership with TotalEnergies for sustainable environments and he, together with TotalEnergies EP business development and corporate affairs director Jean Gavalda, planted a tree at the school.

“It is very important because, giving back, reaching out to people really inspires when you learn their stories and when they tell you they look up to you, and they have these very good memories about you in sport. It really gives you more positive energy,” Cheptegei said of the event.

This eighth Olympic and Paralympic Week is happening across France and in different countries with partner French schools to celebrate the Paris 2024 Games and athletes.

The French School of Kampala pupils this week have participated in table tennis, athletics, wheelchair basketball, fencing and archery as part of the Week celebrations.


Date of birth: September 12, 1996

Major Races: 5000m, 10000m

Personal Bests: 5000m (12:35.36), 10000m (26:11.00), 21km (59:21)

Coach: Addy Ruiter

Manager: Jurrie van der Velden

Kit Sponsor: Nike


Mar 30: World X-Country (6th, 28:24)

Mar 16: Laredo 10K (2nd, 25:53)


Dec 3: Valencia Marathon (37th, 2:08:59)

Aug 20: Budapest Worlds 10000m Final (1st, 27:51.42)

June 30: Lausanne DL (2nd, 12:41.61)

Jun 2: Florence DL (4th, 12:53.81)

Mar 19: New York Half-Marathon (2nd, 1:02:09)

Feb 18: World X-Country (3rd, 29:37)


Dec 31: NN San Silvestre 10K (1st, 27:09)

Jul 24: Oregon Worlds 5000m Final (9th, 13:13.12)

Jul 21: Oregon Worlds 5000m Heat 1 (4th, 13:24.47)

Jul 17: Oregon Worlds 10000m Final (1st, 27:27.43)

May 27: Prefontaine Classic 5000m (1st, 12:57.99)

Mar 6: Cannes 10K (1st, 26:49)


2014 World Junior Champs: 4th, 5000m (13:32.84)

2014 World Junior Champs: 1st, 10000m (28:32.86)

2014 African Champs: DNF, 10000m (DNF)

2015 African Junior Champs: 1st, 10000m (29:58.70)

2015 World Champs Beijing: 9th, 10000m (27:48.89)

2016 Olympic Games Rio: 8th, 5000m (13:09.17)

2016 Olympic Games Rio: 6th, 10000m (27:10.06)

2017 World Cross-country: 30th, Senior race (30:08)

2017 World Champs London: 2nd, 10000m (26:49.94)

2018 Commonwealth Games Gold Coast: 1st, 5000m (13:50.83)

2018 Commonwealth Games Gold Coast: 1st, 10000m (27:19.62)

2019 World Cross-country Champs: 1st, 10km (31:40)

2019 World Champs Doha: 1st, 10000m (26:48.36)

2020 World Half-Marathon Champs: 4th (Men’s 21km)

2020 Tokyo Olympics: 2nd, 10000m (27:43.63)

2020 Tokyo Olympics: 1st, 5000m (12:58.15)

2022 World Champs Oregon: 1st, 10000m (27:27.43)

2023 World Cross-country Champs: 3rd, 10km (29:37)

2022 World Champs Oregon: 9th, 5000m (13:13.12)

2023 World Champs Budapest: 1st, 10000m (27:51.42)

2024 World Cross-country Champs: 6th, 10km (28:24)


The Olympic and Paralympic Week (OPW) is a week to promote sport among young people and mobilise the educational community around the values of citizenship and sport that are part of the DNA of Olympism and Paralympism. This is the eighth edition of the Olympic and Paralympic Week, running from April 2-6 throughout France and in the network of French schools abroad. Olympic and Paralympic Week 2024 provides an opportunity to celebrate the Paris 2024 Games and athletes from around the world, by putting more physical activity into the daily lives of pupils and students.