Top medal prospects Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo will return to the track this Friday, 6th August 2021 for the men’s 5000m final of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, alongside their Ugandan countrymate Oscar Chelimo at the Olympic Stadium in Japan.
The trio qualified for the final on Tuesday this week after finishing in the top five of their heats. Kiplimo and Cheptegei finished fourth and fifth respectively in heat 2 with times of 13:30.40 and 13:30.61 while Chelimo, an Olympic debutant finished fourth in heat 1 with a time of 13:39.07.
Cheptegei, 24 and Kiplimo, 20 have already claimed silverware for Uganda in Tokyo after winning Silver and Bronze respectively in the men’s 10000m last week. The pair will attempt an olympic double at the 5000m event.
Cheptegei heads to the track on Friday as a World Record holder in the 5000m with a winning time of 12 minutes 35.36 seconds. He broke Kenenisa Bekele’s (Ethiopia) record by about two seconds in 2020.
Albeit finishing second in the 10,000m, Cheptegei will seek inspiration from the 2018 Commonwealth Games where he won gold in both events (10,000m and 5000m) at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, as he aims to double up and this time round in the front.
However, in his only 5000m race of the year (2021), Cheptegei finished sixth at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Florence managing a time of 12:54.69, the second-fastest of his career. But in 2019 he rebounded from similar early-season results to win the Diamond League title against a high-quality field.
For Kiplimo, the youngster has even been pitted ahead of Cheptegei by some pundits and his finish on Tuesday could be sending signals.
Kiplimo qualified for the Olympic 5000m by running 12:55.60 at the Spitzen Leichtathletik Stadion Allmend in Luzern, Switzerland on 30 June, setting him up for the long-distance double in Tokyo and albeit having never doubled up in a major Championship, he will seek to write history.