Speed hunt for Cheptegei in Ostrava debut

Joshua Cheptegei. PHOTO/FILE

Joshua Cheptegei is taking cautious steps as he makes final touches before bidding to become Uganda’s first-ever track long-distance Olympic champion come the Tokyo Games in July.

Part of that has involved his management Global Sports Communication (GSC) comprising manager Jurrie van der Velden and coach Addy Ruiter ponder over which races to do over the remaining 70 days.

With the disruptions by the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic playing a crucial factor, GSC agreed that the 10000m world champion will build-up for Tokyo by running the 3000m race at the Golden Spike Meeting in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

“I’m looking forward to starting my season in Ostrava. 3000m it is,” Cheptegei said via social media at the weekend.
The 24-year-old, who holds both 5000m and 10000m world records, will debut in Ostrava over a shorter distance with further focus on speed.

“We believe, it’s the perfect distance to start for him,” Jurrie explained the decision for Cheptegei to do the 3000m.
With endurance already in the bag, there is a deliberate plan to help Cheptegei polish up on speed, especially with a plot to attempt winning the 10000m and 5000m Olympic double.

It began last month at the sixth Uganda Athletics Federation Trials where Cheptegei came third with personal best (PB) of 3:37.36 behind his training partner Ronald Musagala and Kenyan Kamar Etiang over the 1500m in Namboole.

“Now a step up to 3000m and then he’ll further progress to 5000m before going to the Olympics,” added Jurrie.
Cheptegei’s personal best over the 3000m distance is 7:33.26 and he will have the Ostrava Meeting record of 7:31.66 within sight next week.