Cheptegei wants more after Florence show

Cheptegei has work to do to get back to his level this year. PHOTO/COURTSEY 

What you need to know:

Cheptegei posted a time of 12 minutes and 53.81 seconds behind winner Spaniard Mohamed Katir, Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha and Grijalva at the Stadio Luigi Ridolfi.

Finishing outside the podium is a no-go zone for Joshua Cheptegei. The Ugandan long-distance runner is accustomed to winning races.

However, Cheptegei left Italy back to Uganda at the weekend with no worries despite finishing fourth over the 5000m race during the Golden Gala Meeting in Florence.

The two-time world 10000m champion was beaten to third place by Guatemalan Luis Grijalva in the final 70 metres after a rather tactical race over 12-and-a-half lap race.

Cheptegei posted a time of 12 minutes and 53.81 seconds behind winner Spaniard Mohamed Katir, Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha and Grijalva at the Stadio Luigi Ridolfi.

“Solid season opener,” said Cheptegei, “Back to work now,” the world record (WR) holder stated.

The race had been largely slow with no one interested. Cheptegei in particular, kept at the back of the pack not until Olympic 10000m champion Ethiopian Selemon Barega charged with two laps to go.

The field had posted over-a-minute laps but in the final 800m, they did 59.05 seconds on the penultimate lap and 54.65 after the bell.

That effort, which many may not have noticed, pushed Cheptegei to his second fastest time ever in 23 career 5000m races. His management is just content with his return to track in nearly a year.

“Stepping off the track nine months ago with an injury, starting the new season with 12.53 in a competitive race is not bad. Got some points to work on for sure, but moving in the right direction,” his manager Jurrie van der Velden said.

“His level is fine,” remarked his coach Addy Ruiter. Cheptegei had come out in lane two to rise from seventh place at the bell.  

“His best track opener ever in the last year and his second time ever. Joshua was only faster when he was running the WR in Monaco, France (in 2020).

Tactically, too many meters in lane two and it was better to come to the front earlier. But, for this moment in the season it's fine and will give a motivation towards Budapest,” added Ruiter.

Cheptegei will bid to win his fifth medal at the World Championships when he lines-up to defend his 10000m title for a second time in Budapest, Hungary later in August.

According to Jurrie and Ruiter, the 5000m Olympic champion Cheptegei will have one more race in Europe before business in Budapest.



1 Mohamed Katir (ESP)         12:52.09

2 Yomif Kejelcha (ETH)        12:52.12

3 Luis Grijalva (GUA)            12:52.97

4 Joshua Cheptegei (UGA)     12:53.81


WOMEN’S 10000M

1 Sifan Hassan (NED)            29:37.80

2 Grace Nawowuna (KEN)    29:47.42

3 Tsigie Gebreselama (ETH)  30:04.45

7 Joy Cheptoyek (UGA)       32:09.52



1 Rose Davies (AUS)             15:10.30

2 Belinda Chemutai (UGA) 15:23.48

3 Kristine Engeset (NOR)      15:26.00

MEN’S 3000M

1 Narve Nordås (NOR)          7:43.94

2 Emil Danielsson (SWE)       7:45.98

3 Adam Fogg (GBR)              7:46.67

5 Dan Kibet (UGA)               7:47.89

11 Keneth Kiprop (UGA)    7:50.69


Date of birth: September 12, 1996

Major Races: 5000m, 10000m

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

Coach: Addy Ruiter

Manager: Jurrie van der Velden

Kit Sponsor: Nike


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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