Ugandan runner Joshua Cheptegei on Friday night put up a good show to break a 16-year-old 5,000m world record at the Monaco Diamond League. event that was held at the Principality’s Louis II Stadium.
Cheptegei, 23, broke Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) record by about two seconds with a winning time of 12 minutes 35.36 seconds to claim a career third world title. Bekele’s winning time was 12:37.35.
“Monaco is a special place and it’s one of those places where I could break the world record,” Cheptegei told the media.
“It took a lot to keep being motivated this year because so many people are staying at home but you have to stay motivated.” Cheptegei added.
In February this year, Cheptegei broke the 5km road world record still in Monaco. This was his second world record.
His maiden world record was when he won the 10,000m world title in Doha last year.
However, Cheptegei was not the only athlete to make light of the lack of competitive action in 2020 to post impressive times.
Athletes like Britain’s Laura Muir, Norwegian world champion Karsten Warholm, Scotland’s Jake Wightman, Kenyan world champion Hellen Obiri, Great Britain’s Andrew Pozzi and the like returned good results with others smashing records.
For Uganda’s world champion Halima Nakaayi who was aiming for another record, she finished fifth at the women’s 1,000m race finishing in 2:32.12. However, this was her personal best and also a national record.
In the stadium, 5,000 socially-distanced spectators graced the event but were required to wear masks and maintain a social distance.
However, the effects of the pandemic were still visible as athletes prepared for races on the infield to give them more space than Stade Louis II’s regular call-room affords, crowd noise was pumped into the venue and American pole vault world champion Sam Kendricks was unable to compete after his pole failed to make it to the stadium on time.