Event: World Athletics Half Marathon Champions
Date: 17th October 2020 (Saturday)
Venue: Baltic Coast City, Poland
Albeit his his half marathon inexperience, Joshua Cheptegei will be the man to watch at the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Gdynia 2020 slated for Saturday, 17th October in the Northern Polish Baltic Coast City, Poland.
Ahead of the marathon, Cheptegei who will be making his debut at the event has smashed four world records in a space of about 10 months and is the man to watch when the gun sounds for the men’s race this Saturday.
Cheptegei has set world records in all three of his races in 2020, starting with his 12:51 clocking for 5km on the roads in Monaco in February and followed six months later by his 12:35.36 5000m run, also in Monaco. More recently, he took a five-second chunk off the 10,000m world record in Valencia on 7 October with his stunning 26:11.00 performance.
His maiden world record was when he won the 10,000m world title in Doha last year.
Having risen above expectations in the recent past, Cheptegei has now been tipped to ‘take it all’ this Saturday.
According to World Athletics, if Cheptegei is victorious on Saturday, he will become just the second man in the modern era to win global titles on the track, road and cross-country, joining Khalid Skah. Incidentally, Skah – the winner in 1994 – is also the last man to win the World Half on his debut at the distance.
For team Uganda, Cheptegei will lead the nine-athletes squad and will be joined by recent Golden Spike 5000m champion and Meet Record holder Jacob Kiplimo, also 3000m Race winner at Rome Diamond League.
Kiplimo’s recent heroics have made pundits claim that he could be Cheptegei’s greatest challenger this weekend.
His last clash with Cheptegei was at the 2019 World Cross Country Championships, where he shared the lead for much of the way before finishing second behind his compatriot.
Before that, however, he had comfortably beaten Cheptegei at the Ugandan Cross Country Championships and the Cross Internacional de Italica in Seville earlier that year. Kiplimo also has the slight advantage of having previously contested a half marathon; he ran 1:01:53 at altitude in Kampala at the end of last year, winning by more than a minute.
However, Stephen Kissa, Abel Chebet and Moses Kibet sum up Uganda’s men’s team.
The four-member women’s team will be spearheaded by Juliet Chekwel who will also make her World Athletics Half Marathon Championships debut. She made her first major appearance in 2018 at the Cardiff Commonwealth Half Marathon after clocking 1:09:45 at the distance.
She will line up alongside Doreen Chesang, Doreen Chemutai and Rachael Zena Chebet, some of the country’s finest runners over the distance.
The team is accompanied by Coach Benjamin Njia.
However, to date, Uganda has won just one medal at the World Half Marathon Championships – bronze in the men’s team event in 2004 – while the country’s best individual placing was Wilson Busienei’s fourth-place finish in 2006.