Ugandan 5000m world record holder Joshua Cheptegei has revealed how he was challenged to discover his potential following criticism when he broke down at the 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Kampala.
Cheptegei had built an almost unassailable advantage in the men’s race with a 12-second advantage over Kenya’s Geoffrey Kamworor, but all went wrong, fatigue taking a vice-like grip of his body.
He crossed the line in 30th place, having lost almost two minutes to his rivals in the final kilometre. Today, he is ranked number one in 10,000m globally and has claimed four world records within the same period.
Speaking at an MTN Uganda event where he was awarded Shs123M for breaking Kenenisa Bekele’s 16 year-old 5000m record, Joshua was thankful for the criticism that propeled him to greater heights.
“I was made fun by the media people but thank you so much because your criticism has made me who I am today. It has made me discover the potential I had. It made me to understand that I was somebody who is really courageous,” he told media.
“With that from 2017, I went on to become Silver medalist in the World Championships behind Mo Farah. Set-backs are important and they propel to something great. A man stands a test of challenges but those are the things that make better people.”
Cheptegei is now going to give a shot at the 10,000m world record. Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele is the current holder of the 15-year-old record, he made on August 26, 2005 in Brussels, Belgium.