Cheptegei season to start in Cannes

Uganda's Joshua Cheptegei celebrates with the national flag after winning the men's 5000m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on August 6, 2021. PHOTO | AFP

What you need to know:

  • GSC under their niche long-distance unit NN Running Team confirmed Cheptegei will line-up for his first road race in 13 months together with training partner Abel Sikowo on March 6.

Joshua Cheptegei has endured frustrations over the last few months. The Olympic 5000m champion has been starved of competition owing to challenges brought by Covid-19.

But the 25-year-old is now a relieved man after his management Global Sports Communication (GSC) announced that he will compete at the Cannes 10K in France next weekend.

GSC under their niche long-distance unit NN Running Team confirmed Cheptegei will line-up for his first road race in 13 months together with training partner Abel Sikowo on March 6.

“I am happy to return to the French Riviera to start off my 2022 season,” Cheptegei said via his Twitter handle.

“It’s been two and a half years since the last time I ran 10km on the road so it will be exciting to see where I am at the moment,” he added.

Covid disruptions

The 5000m and 10000m world record holder Cheptegei then had to compete at the Seven Hills 15K Run in Nijmegen, Netherlands but the race was called off due to Covid-19 cases stemming from the Omicron variant.

This will be his first race since beating Olympic 10000m champion Ethiopian Selemon Barega over the two miles during the Eugene Diamond League in Oregon, USA on August 21, 2021.

“A good race to start the season. The course is down the sea. Let’s first see the day before the race what the weather forecast will be saying,” stated Cheptegei’s coach Addy Ruiter.

“It is tough to get races for runners because of restrictions in different countries but we are happy to get as many opportunities as possible for every runner,” Cheptegei’s manager Jurrie van der Velden said in a recent chat.

Cheptegei’s last 10K race however came when he posted a world record time of 26 minutes and 38 seconds while winning the Valencia Trinidad Alfonso 10K in Spain on December 1, 2019. Only Kenyan Rhonex Kipruto has run faster than that time, posting 26:24, in Valencia on January 12, 2020.

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