Cheptegei out of 5000m race as attention turns to Chelimo

Joshua Cheptegei won gold in Budapest earlier this week (Photo/Courtesy)

Budapest, (HUN): Uganda’s campaign at the ongoing World Athletics Championship in Budapest, Hungary has suffered a setback following the withdrawal of long-distance sensation Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei from the 5000m race because of discomfort in his foot.

Just four days ago, Cheptegei successfully defended his 10,000m title and entered into the elite league of renowned athletes such as Great Britain’s Sir Mo Farah and Ethiopian legends Haile Gebrselassie and Kennenisa Bekele.

Benjamin Njia, coach of the Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) confirmed Cheptegei’s regrettable absence from the upcoming 5000m heats. He, however, didn’t disclose specific details about the nature of his injury.

This development reverberates across Team Uganda, which had already faced the absence of another star athlete, Jacob Kiplimo, due to a hamstring injury shortly before the team’s departure for Budapest.

Kiplimo’s absence was especially significant, given his pivotal role in Uganda’s medal prospects as a double gold medalist in the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

While Cheptegei’s departure casts a shadow over Uganda’s aspirations, attention now turns to young athlete Oscar Chelimo.

Chelimo, remembered for securing a bronze in the 5000m event at the 2022 World Championship, stands as a beacon of hope in the midst of adversity.

In that remarkable race, Cheptegei initially led the pack before succumbing to injury, allowing Chelimo to seize the opportunity. Chelimo surged from a trailing position, overtaking several athletes in the final laps to secure the bronze.

This season, Chelimo has faced limited competition due to a knee injury, having participated only once in Switzerland.

Despite this, the 21-year-old, with a personal best time of 13:00.42 enters the 5000m race’s second heat as a sole contender. His mission is to secure a top-eight finish to qualify for the final event on Sunday.

Ugandans in action today

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  • Oscar Chelimo – 5000 heats (EAT 20.00)
  • Tarsis Orogot- 200m semi final (EAT 21.20)

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