Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei was in superb shape as he beat a field of 37 runners to win 10000m gold at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene, USA on Monday.
Prior to the gun, Cheptegei was favourite having been the only junior to run faster than 28 minutes this year.
And the 17-year-old fulfilled his role as favourite when he clocked 28:32.86 to take the first gold in the early hours of Tuesday.
He held off a strong challenge from the Kenyan duo Elvis Cheboi and Nicholas Kosimbei in the final two laps, finishing with final 400m of 59.6, to capture a memorable victory.
“I’m so very happy and elated. My family in Uganda is very happy,” he told iaaf.org.
And despite a slow start, he kept his cool. “Starting slow and finishing fast is how I usually run. I didn’t give up. I knew things would change during the race.” Cheptegei said.
Cheboi came home second after being unable to respond to Cheptegei’s final move with 200 metres to go, crossing the line in 28:35.20, while Kosimbei was third in 28:38.68.
Cheptegei, who won gold at World University Cross-country Championships at Entebbe Golf course in March, emulated his countryman Boniface Kiprop and become the second Ugandan to win a gold medal at the Championships in the longest running event on the track.
IAAF WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
10, 000M RESULTS
1. Joshua Cheptegei (UGA) 28:32.86
2. Elvis Kipchoge (KEN) 28:35.20
3. Nicholas Kosimbei (KEN) 28:38.68
4. Afewerki Berhane (ERI) 28:45.83
5. Abdallah Mande (UGA) 28:53.77