Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei today made history after becoming the first Ugandan to win 2 medals in the same Olympics games. Cheptegei won the 5000m final in impressive fashion to send the country folk into a frenzy.
Cheptegei produced a 55-second final lap to win the race in 12:58.15 ahead of Canada’s Mohammad Ahmed and American Paul Chelimo to succeed Mo Farah as the new champion. The victory added to the 10,000m silver he won last week.
Although his time of 12:58.15 was less than half a second slower than the Olympic record set by Kenenisa Bekele in 2008, the man from Sebei has already achieved his target of winning Gold at the biggest stage after setting records at the World Championships a few years back.
Cheptegei’s win is yet again also significantly historical because it makes it the first time for Uganda to win at least 2 Gold medals in the same Olympics games for the first time after Peruth Chemtai won Gold in the 3000m Steeplechase on Wednesday.
A week ago, Joshua Cheptegei won the silver medal while Jacob Kiplimo won bronze in the men’s 10,000m at the same Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Cheptegei, who revealed he had been struggling with a heel injury heading into the Games, made sure he was near the front of the field right from the start; and thanks to compatriot Kiplimo who did most of the dirty work as Pacesetter.
The sweet victory now makes Cheptegei whose world record stands at 12:35.36, a proud Olympic and world champion, adding to his 10,000m win at Doha 2019 and arguably Uganda’s greatest athlete of all time.