Nairobi — World Under-20 champion Rhonex Kipruto bagged bronze in the final of the 10,000m at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, finishing in a time of 26:50.32 in a race won by Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei in a World Leading time of 26:48.36.
The last time Kenya won gold in the 24-lap race was in 2001 through Charles Kamathi.
Despite intermittently leading in the race, Kipruto could not cope up with the finishing power summoned by Cheptegei and Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha at the bell with the latter finishing second for silver in a personal best time of 26:49.34.
Rodgers Kwemoi who had been in the leading pack with Kipruto for most of the race finished fourth in a personal best time of 26:55.36 while the third Kenyan in the race Alex Korio finished 11th.
Kipruto, Kwemoi and Cheptegei were all race leaders throughout as they changed hands at the apex of the pack.
But even when the Kenyans took over the pacing duties, Cheptegei, a double Commonwealth champion and reigning world cross country champion kept them close, breathing on their necks.
Rhonex and Kwemoi kept the lead at the halfway point of the race with Rhonex completing the first half in 13:33.20. He kept the lead at the 8km mark with a time of 18:56.85.
With three laps to go, Cheptegei sprung into the lead, with Kipruto dropping off the front four which also included Kejelcha and compatriot Andamlak Belihu. With a kilometer left to run, Cheptegei had a good lead, splitting it at 24:20.79.
At the bell, the Ugandan ensured he was in the lead while Kejelcha with his long strides galloped in behind him, Rhonex now worn out after pacing at the front throughout.
Kejelcha’s efforts at turning over the lead were futile as Cheptegei ensured his lead was intact.
Kipruto had already realized a good gap between him and the chasing pack and only needed to maintain his pace for a bronze medal.