Cheptegei wants victory in Oslo

Kiplimo (L) and Cheptegei. PHOTO/COURTESY 

What you need to know:

Oslo Litmus Test. Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo are Uganda's biggest medal prospects come the Paris Olympics in August. For Cheptegei, the 5000m race in Oslo will be his last competitive test before the trip to the French capital and he wants nothing short of a victory. Two-time World Cross-country Kiplimo won't want to just compete either, in company of his half-brother Oscar Chelimo inside the Bislett Stadium on Thursday in the Norwegian capital.

In exactly two months, athletics will take centre stage at the Paris Olympics in France.

And now nearly 60 days to that, the preparations are hitting final gear for Uganda’s top stars Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo.

The pair will check the levels of their progress before the Paris Games when they line-up in a field of 22 runners for the men’s 5000m during the Oslo leg of the Wanda Diamond League (DL) in Norway on Thursday.

“Happy to be back at the Bislett Games after five years!” Cheptegei posted for his 261,000 followers on Instagram yesterday.

Cheptegei and Kiplimo will be joined by the latter’s half-brother Oscar Chelimo for the 12-and-a-half-lap race inside the Bislett Stadium.

Unlike the pair, 2022 world bronze 5000m medallist Chelimo is running his first track race since limping out of the 5000m final during the Budapest World Athletics Championships in Hungary last August.

Cheptegei and Kiplimo came third and fourth respectively behind the Ethiopian pairing of Olympic 10000m champion Selemon Barega and fast-rising Berihu Aregawi over 5000m during the Los Angeles Grand Prix in California, USA on May 17.

Already, world 3000m steeplechase record holder Ethiopian Lamecha Girma and Barega won the Xiamen and Suzhou legs of the DL last month.

Cheptegei however wants a race victory in Oslo to calm nerves before the main gala in Paris, where he intends to bag the 10000m Olympic title.

“Winning the race is the goal,” his coach Addy Ruiter said. That ambition comes after nearly six months of recovery back to track after Cheptegei's marathon debut in Valencia, Spain.

Ruiter spent some time with Cheptegei in the final track sessions at the Global Sports Communication track in Nijmegen, Netherlands at the weekend.

Jacob Kiplimo wants more glitter. PHOTO/REUTERS 

“It was going very well,” added Ruiter. Cheptegei has not won a track race outside major championships since the 5000m race of the 2022 Prefontaine Classic on the DL circuit in Eugene, USA.

Barega won in 12:51.60 in California, which is the fastest time this year. The forecast in Oslo is expected to be cold weather during the race and therefore, the field will target a time around 12 minutes and 45.00 seconds.

Cheptegei is the reigning 5000m Olympic champion and world record holder at 12:35.36. Four other men in the field; Kiplimo and the Ethiopian trio of Haile Bekele, Yomif Kejelcha and Hagos Gebrhiwet, have posted under 12:45.00 in their careers.

The field also has other serious challengers like Kenyan Stanley Mburu, who took 10000m world silver behind Cheptegei in Eugene two years ago. Then, Guatemala’s Luis Grijalva who came fourth in Budapest, and Swiss Dominic Lobalu will too be in the fray.



Men’s 5000m: Jacob Kiplimo, Joshua Cheptegei, Oscar Chelimo

MEN’S 5000M - 2024’S FASTEST

12:51.60 by Selemon Barega (ETH) on May 17

12:51.84 by Grant Fisher (USA) on Feb 16

12:52.09 by Berihu Aregawi (ETH) on May 17

12:52.38 by Joshua Cheptegei (UGA) on May 17

12:52.91 by Jacob Kiplimo (UGA) on May 17