Uganda’s long-distance runner Joshua Cheptegei set a new personal best in the 5000m during the Diamond League final in Zurich, Switzerland.
Cheptegei took the track of Letzigrund on Thursday night and knowing that he wouldn’t be able to contend with the finishing speed of the Ethiopian contingent, which included last year’s champion Selemon Barega, he sped off from the start and hung on to win in 12:57.41.
He, however, doubled down on his pace with about a mile to run but managed to establish a lead of a few seconds at the bell.
“If I go fast, I go fast. On the last lap, I thought that I can win the race. I was expecting to win. I believe in myself and this victory gives me even more confidence,” said Cheptegei in the aftermath of the race.
Ethiopians Barega, Telahun Bekele, Hagos Gebrhiwet and Yomif Kejelcha, who had run together up to that point, looked primed to reel him in, but the Ugandan dug in again.
Though the gap had halved within 200m, there was a little more in the Cheptegie’s tank as he ran the last lap in 59 seconds and crossed the finish 0.74s ahead of Gebrhiwet.
Cheptegei became the first Ugandan to win the Diamond League trophy that came along with $50000 prize money.