Partaking in a global event is a huge privilege for a Ugandan athlete especially at a time where travel restrictions are still in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Jacob Kiplimo is one of those lucky few. The teenager’s management flew him to Italy a day after he won the 5000m race at last week’s Ostrava Golden Spike Meeting in Czech Republic.
“We struggled a lot to get permission to fly from Uganda,” Beppe Picotti, one of Kiplimo’s managers explained the decision to keep the budding star in Europe.
And on Tuesday, Kiplimo took a 45-minute flight from Milan to Rome where he will line-up for the 3000m race at the Wanda Diamond League (DL) Meeting tonight. Since producing a new personal best (PB) of 12 minutes and 48.63 seconds in Ostrava, Kiplimo spent days in Brescia Province of Lombardy where he took on training sessions.
“We have done only one hard workout and one easy workout, but he’s in very good shape,” Kiplimo’s Italian coach Iacopo Brasi told this paper. And the 19-year-old is upbeat for the task. “I can’t wait to compete,” he said, in part, in a recent post via Instagram.
In Ostrava, it was Kiplimo’s first race on track in almost 26 months but nine days later, he is gearing to break his own PB of 7:43.73 at the Olympic Stadium.
“We think that he could destroy his old PB,” Brasi noted. There is even a greater aura of optimism from Picotti. “
I hope even a national record (NR) of 7:30.90 is possible,” he said. “According to the performance in Ostrava, he can make it but let’s see on Thursday, I don’t like to predict too much.”
The men’s 3000m NR current stands at 7:30.95 set by Moses Kipsiro in Monaco, France on July 28, 2009. But Kiplimo is up against 13 other men led by the in-form rising Norwegian Jakob Ingebristen who set a new European record over 1500m (3:28.68) at the Monaco DL on August 14.
Ingebristen, who turns 20 on Saturday, finished fourth and fifth in the 1500m and 5000m finals respectively at last year’s Doha World Championships in Qatar.
Despite two indoor European titles over the distance, his outdoor 3000m PB is at 8:00.01.
“The goal is to be with Ingebristen. Maybe he is faster than Jacob but as you have seen in Ostrava, Kiplimo improved a lot with this feature,” added Brasi.
There is also a trio of Australians; Ryan Gregson, Stewart McSweyn who has the best PB of 7:34.79 and Matthew Ramsden who was a pacesetter for Joshua Cheptegei enroute to breaking the 5000m world record in Monaco last month.
But the small crowd in the stadium will cheer on six Italians with focus on rising Yemaneberhan Crippa who set a new 5000m NR in Ostrava.
Crippa will now try to break the 3000m NR held by Gennaro di Napoli (7:39.54) since 1996.
Date of Birth: November 14, 2000
Major events: 5000m, 10000m
Coach: Guisseppe Gambrone
Personal Bests: 12:48.63 (5000m), 27:26.6 (10000m)
Manager: Federico Rosa
Management: Rosa Associati
Bronze: 2016 World Junior 10000m
Gold: 2017 World Cross-Country Jnr Men’s 8km
Silver: 2018 World Junior 10000m
Silver: 2019 World Cross-Country Senior Men’s 10km