Uganda’s long-distance runner Joshua Cheptegei sprinted to a memorable win and set a new personal best in the men’s 5000m in Zurich, Switzerland on Thursday night.
Cheptegei finished the race in a record time of 12.57.41 at the IAAF Diamond League. Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet was second in 12.58.15, with favorite Yomif Kajelcha only managing 6th in 13.01.38.
The 22 year old took the track of Letzigrund and knowing that he wouldn’t be able to contend with the finishing speed of the Ethiopian contingent, which included last year’s champion Selemon Barega, but he sped off from the start and hung on to win in 12.57.41.
A brave run from— IAAF Diamond League (Diamond_League) August 29, 2019
He sped off from the start in the men's 5000m and hung on for a great win in 12.57.41.
It's a PB but more importantly a Diamond Trophy for the Ugandan! ?#ZurichDL ?? #DLFinal pic.twitter.com/wE5pgEItLK
He, however, doubled down on his pace with about a mile to run but managed to establish a lead of a few seconds at the bell.
Ethiopians Barega, Telahun Bekele, Hagos Gebrhiwet and Yomif Kejelcha, who had run together up to that point, looked primed to reel him in, but the Ugandan dug in again.
“If I go fast, I go fast. On the last lap I thought that I can win the race. I was expecting to win. I believe in myself and this victory gives me even more confidence” Cheptegei said.
The reigning World Cross Country champion, Cheptegei now has his sights set on next month’s World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar.