Joshua Cheptegei has rued the absence of his close friend and fellow Ugandan runner Jacob Kiplimo after he claimed gold in the men’s 10,000 metres at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha on Sunday.
Kiplimo didn’t participate in the race due to injury. Cheptegei had to work with Mande Abdallah who finished a distant 17th in 28:31:49 despite having set the pace during the first five minutes at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Cheptegei and Kiplimo had developed a very good partnership – one that delivered gold and silver for both, respectively at the Cross Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark earlier this year.
Speaking to IAAF media after the race, Cheptegei revealed how proud he was after winning gold for Uganda, but regretted the absence of Kiplimo, who didn’t make it to Qatar.
“I am very proud,” he said when asked about the win. “There is a lot of difference between gold and silver.
“What came into my mind was that in 2017, I won Silver behind Mo Farah, so this year i wanted to get an upgrade.
“I had to hold until the finish line. It’s never over until it is finished.”
Its so bad that i missed my friend Jacob Kiplimo, the silver medalist at the World Cross Country Championships because of injury nevertheless, Mande was up there, always there for me in training and we really worked together in this race.
The gold medal meant Uganda completing the showpiece with two after Halima Nakaayi also claimed the same in the 800m on Monday night.
Cheptegei posted 26:48:36 – the best mark achieved worldwide this season – beating Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha and Kenya’s Rhonex Kipruto.