What you need to know:
- The Olympic champion and world record holder over the distance was not at his usual best and finished in a distant ninth position at the Hayward Field yesterday.
Joshua Cheptegei did not lose heart despite missing out on his mission to win the 5000m title at the Oregon World Athletics Championships.
The Olympic champion and world record holder over the distance was not at his usual best and finished in a distant ninth position at the Hayward Field yesterday.
Cheptegei, 25, clocked 13 minutes and 13.12 seconds but it was not enough for a place on the podium.
“It was not bad, just the last three laps,” said the man who led the field early on. “I have been feeling some pain here,” pointing to the side behind the right leg, Cheptegei said.
Having successfully defended his world 10000m title on July 17, Cheptegei had no much pressure returning to Hayward.
But he was motivated to become the third man in history to win the long-distance double at the Worlds, after Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele and Great Britain’s Mo Farah.
Cheptegei however struggled to control the second half of the race, the pace dropping so low to allow 1500m silver medallist Jakob Ingebrigtsen win in 13:09.24.
If the pace had been fast, the winner would have dipped under 13 minutes, at least. But the drop in speed gave about eight men a chance when the bell rang.
Uganda still didn’t leave empty handed. Jacob Kiplimo’s half-brother Oscar Chelimo won a bronze medal behind Kenyan Jacob Krop.
“We were to make a team and do gold-silver but you know, this game is about how you wake up in the morning,” Chelimo said of Cheptegei.
“My body responded. For him, it didn’t respond. So I say to him ‘hard luck brother’,” he added.
Amid the hot conditions, another element to factor in is fatigue. Cheptegei, like his other foe Selemon Barega, all looked weary having competed in the 10000m final a week prior.
Barega finished 12th whereas the other pair from the 25-lap final; Ahmed and his training partner American Grant Fisher, were fifth and sixth, respectively.
Overall, none of the men from the 10000m final looked fresh for the medal quest in the closing stages of the 5000m and that doesn’t take any credit away from Ingebrigtsen.
By missing out on the podium, this is the first time that Cheptegei has not won an individual medal in a championship race since finishing fourth at the World Half-Marathon Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, two years ago.
However, Cheptegei is the most decorated long-distance runner over the past five years with eight championship medals to show.
Uganda finished with one gold and two bronze medals, thereby tying in 16th place on the medal table with Belgium and Sweden. Hosts USA won the new world team trophy after collecting a total 33 medals, 13 of them gold.