Splendid Kiplimo lands sixth world title in seven years

Kiplimo crosses the line first in Belgrade, Serbia. PHOTOS/REUTERS 

What you need to know:

Kiplimo became the fourth man in history to do a back-to-back after he exuded calm authority and pure poetry over the final leg of the 2km-looped course to win in a time of 28 minutes and nine seconds.

Jacob Kiplimo has bossed the road since he was 17. And at 23, he has nearly done it all.

On Saturday, he was expected but not guaranteed to retain his senior men’s 10km title at the World Athletics Cross-country Championships in Serbia.

Towards the finish of the day’s last event at Friendship Park in the capital Belgrade, Kiplimo sealed Uganda’s best harvest at an edition of this global championship when he successfully defended his 10km title.

Kiplimo became the fourth man in history to do a back-to-back after he exuded calm authority and pure poetry over the final leg of the 2km-looped course to win in a time of 28 minutes and nine seconds.

“It actually feels more exciting to successfully defend my title than to win the first one,” Kiplimo told the media after becoming Uganda’s most successful athlete in World Cross-country history with four individual medals.

The world half-marathon record holder breezed by the bridges, dust and mud with ease in the final kilometre and none could match his endurance.

Kiplimo had built a sizable gap over the chasing pack and even had time to salute the gallery on either end towards the finish-line before hugging his coach Italian Guiseppe Giambrone.

It however had not come easy. “But it was also tougher. I came here expecting I could win again, but the field was really strong,” Kiplimo admitted.

“He did a great race controlling and dominated but was much harder than Bathurst (Australia),” Kiplimo’s manager Federico Rosa of Rosa Associati told this paper.

Rosa’s other runner Ethiopian Berihu Aregawi came second again as it were in Bathurst 13 months ago, in a time of 28:12 while Kenyan Benson Kiplangat was two seconds adrift in the bronze medal position.

“The course was fine, a little challenging with the obstacles. It was a little tough running in the heat, but that wasn't a major issue,” added Kiplimo.

But, the day largely felt like déjà vu. Uganda, in particular Kiplimo and Joshua Cheptegei have bossed this global cross-country stage since 2017.

Whereas, reigning three-time world 10000m champion Cheptegei couldn’t replicate his success of 2019, he powered to finish in sixth place.

Cheptegei, who only competed at the Laredo 10K in Spain a fortnight ago, posted 28:24 and was destined for a medal until the final kilometre.

Kiplimo smiles with his gold medal. 

The 2023 bronze medallist Cheptegei and Kiplimo in particular charged at Kenyan Gideon Rono who had upped the pace after the midway point of the race.

Rono developed a 40-metre gap over the rest of the pack, pushing the Ugandan duo to react. But understandably, Kiplimo had prepared better.

Since recovering from a hamstring problem which saw him miss the Budapest World Athletics Championships in Hungary last August, he prioritized the road activity; winning the Cross Internacional de Atapuerca in Spain before setting a joint-best world 15km best at the NN Zevenheuvelenloop in the Netherlands.  

Early this year, Kiplimo won the 10K Valencia Ibercaja in Spain and the national cross-country title. A pretty comfortable Kiplimo attacked moments after the start of the final lap and never looked back.

“And he controlled the pace; he controlled the people, no fast reaction. Very good tactic, good mentality, good experience, and he attacked in a good moment. A perfect moment,” said Giambrone.

Cheptegei, who ran his debut 42km race at the Valencia Marathon in December, seemed not to react after he had had the group catch up with Rono. “Joshua was okay but not good enough. Five men were better, simple like that,” admitted his coach Addy Ruiter.

With Cheptegei’s understudy Dan Kibet coming in 11th and Hosea Kiplangat in 13th, the group claimed a team silver medal. “As expected, Dan Kibet was running well, the same like Sarah Chelangat. And of course Kiplimo,” added Ruiter.

In the senior women’s 10km race, Chelangat came sixth behind five Kenyans including Beatrice Chebet who retained her title and the former led Uganda to a team bronze accompanied by Loice Chekwemoi in ninth, Rachael Zena Chebet in 13th and Annet Chemengich three places adrift.

There were also team bronze medals for the junior men and women’s teams. In the mixed relay mixed event, Hosea Kiprop gave Uganda a strong start but the quartet comprising Linda Chebet, Sam Kapkerung and Knight Aciru finished fifth in 23:10. Only these four Ugandans didn’t get medals in Belgrade.




1 Kenya                       22:15

2 Ethiopia                    22:43

3 Great Britain            23:00

5 Uganda                    23:10


1 Marta Alemayo (ETH)                     19:28

2 Asayech Ayichew (ETH)                 19:32

3 Robe Dida (ETH)                            19:38

10 Nowel Cheruto (UGA)                  20:04

11 Charity Cherop (UGA)                  20:23

13 Keziah Chebet (UGA)                   20:47

14 Vicky Chekwemboi (UGA)           20:49

27 Isella Chebet (UGA)                      21:40


1 Samuel Kibathi (KEN)                    22:40

2 Mezgebu Sime (KEN)                     22:41

3 Matthew Kipkoech (KEN)              22:46

11 Samuel Simba (UGA)                    23:23

12 Dolphine Chelimo (UGA)             23:25

14 Sailas Rotich (UGA)                      23:36

15 Hosea Chemutai (UGA)                23:47

18 Titus Musau (UGA)                       24:16


1 Beatrice Chebet (KEN)                   31:05

2 Lilian Rengeruk (KEN)                   31:08

3 Margaret Kipkemboi (KEN)            31:09

6 Sarah Chelangat (UGA)                  32:00

9 Loice Chekwemoi (UGA)               32:24

13 Rachael Zena Chebet (UGA)        32:45

16 Annet Chemengich (UGA)            32:56

18 Joy Cheptoyek (UGA)                   33:13

19 Belinda Chemutai (UGA)              33:16


1 Jacob Kiplimo (UGA)                      28:09

2 Berihu Aregawi (ETH)                    28:12

3 Benson Kiplangat (KEN)                28:14

6 Joshua Cheptegei (UGA)                 28:24

11 Dan Kibet (UGA)                          28:45

13 Hosea Kiplangat (UGA)                28:50

14 Martin Kiprotich (UGA)                28:56

18 Leonard Chemutai (UGA)             29:10


Junior Women: Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda 

Junior Men: Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda

Senior Women: Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda

Senior Men: Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia


Date of birth: November 14, 2000

Major events: 5000m, 10000m

Coach: Iacorpo Brasi

Personal Bests: 7:26.64 (3000m), 12:48.63 (5000m), 26:33.93 (10000m)

Manager: Federico Rosa

Management: Rosa Associati


2024 World Cross-country: 1st (Senior Men’s 10km) 

2023 World Cross-country: 1st (Senior Men’s 10km) 

2022 Commonwealth Games: 1st (5000m Final)

2022 Commonwealth Games: 1st (10000m Final)

2022 Eugene World Champs: 3rd (10000m Final)

2020 Tokyo Olympics: 5th (5000m Final)

2020 Tokyo Olympics: 3rd (10000m Final)

2020 World Half-Marathon Champs: 1st (Men’s 21km)

2019 World Cross-country: 2nd (Senior Men’s 10km)

2018 World Jnr Champs: 2nd (10000m), 6th (5000m)

2018 Commonwealth Games: 4th (10000m)

2017 London World Champs: 22nd (10000m Heats)

2017 World Cross-country: 1st (Junior Men’s 8km)

2016 Rio Olympics: 26th (5000m Heats)

2016 World Jnr Champs: 3rd (10000m)



2024 Belgrade: Jacob Kiplimo (Gold)

2023 Bathurst: Jacob Kiplimo (Gold), Joshua Cheptegei (Bronze)

2019 Aarhus: Joshua Cheptegei (Gold), Jacob Kiplimo (Silver)

2010 Bydgoszcz: Moses Kipsiro (Bronze)

2009 Amman: Moses Kipsiro (Silver)


2019 Aarhus: Oscar Chelimo (Bronze)

2017 Kololo: Jacob Kiplimo (Gold)

2009 Amman: Moses Kibet (Bronze)

2004 Brussels: Boniface Kiprop (Silver)

2003 Lausanne: Boniface Kiprop (Silver)

2002 Dublin: Boniface Kiprop (Bronze)


2024 Belgrade: Senior Men’s Silver, Senior Women’s Bronze, Junior Men’s Bronze, Junior Women’s Bronze

2023 Bathurst: Senior Men’s Bronze, Senior Women’s Bronze

2019 Aarhus: Senior Men’s Gold, Senior Women’s Bronze, Junior Men’s Silver

2017 Kampala: Senior Men’s Bronze, Junior Women’s Bronze

2015 Guiyang: Senior Women’s Bronze

2011 Punta Umbria: Senior Men’s Bronze

2010 Bydgoszcz: Junior Men’s Bronze, Junior Women’s Bronze

2008 Edinburgh: Junior Men’s Bronze

2007 Mombasa: Senior Men’s Bronze

2004 Brussels: Junior Men’s Bronze

2003 Lausanne: Junior Men’s Bronze

2002 Dublin: Junior Men’s Bronze

2001 Ostend: Junior Men’s Bronze

2000 Vilamoura: Junior Men’s Bronze