EUGENE: Uganda’s world record holder Joshua Cheptegei demonstrated that he had learnt his Olympic lesson by delivering a tactical masterpiece to win his second world 10,000m gold medal in a stunning race on Sunday.
Cheptegei held his powder dry till the bell last year in Tokyo, only to be outkicked by Selemon Barega. On Sunday, with just over a kilometre to go, he began increasing the ante, tossing in laps of 64 and 63 seconds to stretch a group of eight as they rang the bell.
He then continued to press, and despite a furious scramble behind him that had the robust audience cheering in approval, he was able to hold off the field and finish in 27:27.43 minutes.
Stanley Mburu of Kenya finished second in 27:27.90 after suffering a major fall on the first lap. Jacob Kiplimo, who finished third in Tokyo, won another bronze medal for Uganda in 27:27.97.
Fast-finishing Grant Fisher narrowly ran out of track in his effort to earn the United States’ first medal in the event, finishing fourth, while Ethiopia’s Olympic champion Barega was unable to replicate his Tokyo fireworks, finishing fifth.
Cheptegei, who also finished second in the race in 2017 and won Olympic gold over 5,000m last year, will now seek the rare double when he competes over 5,000m again later this week in Eugene.