Highlight of my year was the 5000m race in Monaco, says Cheptegei
JOHANNESBURG – Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei says the highlight of his year was breaking the men’s 5000m world record in Monaco in August.
Cheptegei is among the five finalists for male Athlete of the Year, with the winner set be announced on Saturday.
Cheptegei who turned 24 in September, set a new world record time of 12:36.36 in the 5000m event. It was the second of this three world records he set this year.
“The highlight of my year would have to be the 5000m race in Monaco. I came to the race with so many people saying I wouldn’t be able to break the record,” said Cheptegei.
The nominees first numbered 10, before they were whittled down to five – and Cheptegei remains a firm favourite. His performances are even more remarkable considering his feats were achieved during a pandemic.
“This year has taught me to persist in the midst of adversity. Resilience was the key to overcoming these tough times for me.”
Cheptegei wrapped up his 2020 campaign with an appearance at the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Gdynia 2020. Although he had never contested a half marathon before, his achievements leading up to the race led to him being touted as one of the medal favourites.
Racing just 10 days after his record-breaking run in Valencia, Cheptegei almost achieved a podium finish in Gdynia, eventually placing fourth in 59:21 – one of the fastest debuts in history and quicker than the winning time at all but three previous editions of the World Half.
He didn’t come away empty-handed, however, as Uganda scooped the team bronze medal.
African News Agency (ANA)