Litmus test for Cheptegei

Preparatiions. Olympic champion Cheptegei is in Cannes today. Photo / File

What you need to know:

  • Vital Check. There is a bit of uncertainty about Cheptegei’s current body state considering the 5000m and 10000m world record holder has been out of competitive action since August. The race in Cannes today offers him a chance to check his strength as he prepares to defend his 10000m title at the Oregon Worlds in July.

Joshua Cheptegei is hoping to knock off some inevitable pressures of a top athlete when he goes for the Cannes 10K in France today.

The event will be his first competitive race in seven months and pretty much important to start his year.

“For Sunday (today), it will be interesting to see what he can do,” Cheptegei’s manager Jurrie van der Velden said this week.

It’s a big litmus test for Cheptegei. Being a perennial achiever, Uganda’s greatest sportsman ever is targeting to retain his 10000m world title in Oregon, USA this year.

The Olympic 5000m champion however, has not raced since winning the two-mile race during the Eugene Diamond League in Oregon on August 21, 2021.

And Cheptegei and his camp still rue, in a great way, the cancellation of the Seven Hills 15K race in Nijmegen, Netherlands last November.

Now the road event at sea level in Cannes is key. “To see what his level is at the moment,” his coach Addy Ruiter noted.

Cheptegei travelled to Cannes in the company of Jurrie though. He has not competed at a road race since retaining his crown at the Monaco 5K Run some 13 months ago.

The 25-year-old last ran a 10km race during the Valencia Trinidad Alfonso 10K in Spain where he won in 26 minutes and 38 seconds on December 1, 2019 - a world record then.

“It’s been long for him to run a 10km on the road but for sure, he should aim for the world best time of 2022 which is 26:58 at the moment,” stated Jurrie.

Cheptegei will race in company of his training partner Abel Sikowo but, according to Jurrie, he won’t have pacers.

“The conditions on ground will determine how much faster he can go in a solo effort but a solid 26’ performance would satisfy us,” added the Dutch man from Global Sports Communication.

Cheptegei’s performance in Cannes will go a long way in shaping his program ahead of the Oregon Worlds.

CHEPTEGEI’S PERSONAL BESTS 

TRACK
1500m: 3:37.82 (Nijmegen 2016)
3000m: 7:33.24 (Ostrava 2021)
2-mile: 8:07.54 NR (Stanford 2019)
5000m: 12:35.36 WR (Monaco 2020)
10000m: 26:11.00 WR (Valencia 2020)

ROAD
5km: 12:51 WR (Monaco 2020)
10km: 26:38 NR (Valencia 2019)
15km: 41:05 WR (Nijmegen 2018)

Denotes: NR - National Record, WR - World Record, WB - World Best, Personal Best - PB

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