What you need to know:
- Momentous feat. Jacob Kiplimo became the only third Ugandan to hold a world record in athletics after legend John Akii-Bua and Joshua Cheptegei.
Jacob Kiplimo is trending in Uganda and the global athletics circles. And his name, like counterpart Joshua Cheptegei, could remain on the lips of many for long.
A week after clocking 21, Kiplimo broke the 21km world record (WR) at the Lisbon Half-Marathon in Portugal on Sunday to put the icing on the celebration.
Clad in his customary orange and blue bib, Kiplimo stunned the elite field when he exuded calm authority before crossing the white tape in a time of 57 minutes and 31 seconds.
“I’m so happy,” said Kiplimo, who ran solo up-front for the second half of the race, beat Kenyan Kandie Kibiwott’s previous WR mark set in Valencia, Spain, on December 2, 2020, by a second.
Then in Valencia, Kibiwott won in 57:32 and Kiplimo was second with 57:37e. But on Sunday, Kiplimo, running only his third career 21km race, obliterated Kibiwott’s mark in style.
“I want to say thanks to everyone who has supported me and cheered me,” the youngster from Kween District said.
“This is the thing that I have been looking for. Remember last year when we were in Valencia, I missed the WR by a few seconds. I knew I was going to break it. My training for the last two weeks was perfect,” he added.
Kiplimo is only the third Ugandan in history to hold a WR in athletics after John Akii-Bua and Cheptegei.
On September 2, 1972, Akii-Bua became the first man to run the 400m hurdles under 48 seconds with an Olympic gold in 47.82 at the Munich Games in Germany.
Cheptegei’s cast of WRs is longer. He took the 10km WR with 26:38 in Valencia, Spain, on December 1, 2019. That record has since been broken by Kenyan Rhonex Kipruto to 26:24 on January 12, 2020.
Cheptegei returned in 2020 to take the 5km and 5000m WRs in Monaco, France, before claiming the 10000m WR in Valencia, both track marks from Ethiopian great Kenenisa Bekele.
Kiplimo, who won the World Half-Marathon title on his 21km debut in Gdynia, Poland, on October 17, 2020, won in Lisbon by more than two minutes.
By the third kilometre, he had begun to peel away from the pile. And by 5km, he was clear with a time of 13:40. He crossed 10km in 27:05 and had a lead of about a minute, a perfect springboard to the WR.