Cheptegei excels: Kenyans Cheboi, Kosimbei strike silver and bronze as Ugandan improves country’s gold reserves in Eugene

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Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei wins the 10,000m at the 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships in Eugene. He beat Kenyan duo of Elvis Cheboi and Nicholas Kosimbei to silver and bronze.Just months after Stephen Kiprotich conquered Kenya’s egos at the Olympics, his heir apparent Joshua Cheptegei rubbed the salt in the wound by beating Kenyans to gold at the World Junior Championships, Oregon on Tuesday in 10,000m.

“I’m so very happy and elated. My family in Uganda is very happy. Starting slow and finishing fast is how I usually run. I didn’t give up. I knew things would change during the race,” said Cheptegei Cheptegei, the only junior to run faster than 28 minutes this year, fulfilled his role as favourite for the men’s 10,000m by triumphing over 25 laps of the track at Hayward Field in 28:32.86 to take the first gold medal of the championships.

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Cheptegei 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. 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. “It was a great feeling to represent my country, especially at a World event like this. The first part of the race was a little slow, but then it caught up near the end.

I am happy with how it went and to represent my country. We heard the live music, but we didn’t focus on it, it was in the background,” said Cheboi. However, Kosimbei faulted Kenya’s game plan. “It was a hard race, especially the last two laps. We were planning to run together with Elvis, and we were sticking to our plan. The weather here is good, comfortable. It is different from Kenya, the altitude is low, we can feel it.

We weren’t surprised by the Japanese going to the lead, just knew we had to catch them,” said Kosimbei. Kenya’s Jonathan Kiplimo Sawe was impressive in winning the first 1500m heat in 3:41.35, the fastest of the three heats by far. In fact, all three non-automatic qualifiers for the final came from this heat. Behind Sawe, Slovenia’s Jan Petrac showed a useful turn of speed to come home second in 3:43.15, a national junior record.

Mili Thakur