Tokyo, Japan | By Michael Wandati | World record holder Joshua Cheptegei won Uganda another Olympic gold medal in a grueling men’s 5,000m final at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium on Friday 6, August 2021.
Cheptegei comfortably finished ahead of Mohammed Ahmed of Canada, who took the silver, and Paul Chelimo of US who scooped the bronze.
Cheptegei, with a time of 12:58.15, became the first Ugandan to win the event as he bagged the Olympic gold that has eluded him for so long.
Jacob Kiplimo comfortably spent most of the laps leading the race with Cheptegei covering him in the first five positions. The two runners however stayed in the lead pack until Cheptegei took over the front spot midway through the race and didn’t let go till the end.
“It’s really a great moment,” the Ugandan hero said after the race. “I made a small mistake and I was regretting [having] to become a silver medallist. I came here to become an Olympic champion and my dream has been fulfilled today in a beautiful evening.”
“I knew a lot of guys were strong so I had to take them through the lap and whoever was the strongest in the mind [would win],” the Olympic champions and 5000m world record holder added. “I knew I was strong in the mind because I broke a couple of world records.”
Uganda’s first gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics was secured two days ago by Peruth Chemutai who won the Women’s 3000m Steeplechase competition. Last week, Cheptegei and Kiplimo also won silver and bronze respectively in the 10,000m finals.
Joshua Cheptegei 24, entered the race as one of the favourites holding the world record in the race which stands at 12:35.36, posted at the Wanda Diamond League in Monaco in August 2020.
The long-distance runner finished eighth in the 2016 edition where he crossed the finishing line in 13:09.17 behind elite long-distance runner Mo Farah who won Gold in 13 minutes and 03.30 seconds.
Joshua Cheptegei now has two Olympics medals (gold and silver), two World Champion medals gold and silver), two gold World Cross Country medals, two gold Commonwealth Games medals, World Junior Championship gold, 5km World Record, 5,000m World Record and 10,000m World record.