Uganda: Kamworor Presents Familiar Yet Tough Test for Cheptegei

Joshua Cheptegei and his understudy Jacob Kiplimo who are both targeting the 10000m gold medal come the Tokyo Olympic Games. This is Uganda's best shot for a medal.

The opposition, particularly for star man Cheptegei in that 25-lap, is shaping up as the Games come close.

Athletics Kenya at the weekend named big wig Geoffrey Kamworor, Rodgers Kwemoi and Weldon Kipkurui as the trio who will compete over the longest track race come July 30.

Kamworor, after exchanging the lead with Kwemoi over the last seven laps, won the race at the country's Olympic Trials in a time of 27 minutes and 01.06 seconds at the Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi.

The fiery Kamworor is perhaps fully back to the grand stage having suffered a motorcycle accident last June.

That forced the 28-year-old out and the three-time defending champion consequently missed fighting for his world half-marathon gong in Gdynia, Poland back in October.

He had returned to competition but pulled out with injury at Kenya's Cross-country Championships in February before finishing second to counterpart Kandie Kibiwott at Istanbul Half-Marathon in April. By earning selection to Tokyo, it means world record holder Cheptegei will face one of his friends Kamworor in Tokyo. The two were training partners in Eldoret before the 2016 Olympics.

Kamworor, despite taking advantage to win, still consoled Cheptegei after the latter had terribly withered in front of the home crowd at the 2017 World Cross-country Championships in Kololo. They last faced each other during the 2019 World Cross-country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark where Cheptegei found his revenge to take gold. Kamworor picked bronze. Kamworor, after winning the Kenya Trials, would have challenged Cheptegei for the 10000m title at the Doha World Championships later that year.

But he instead opted to do a 21km race in Copenhagen, Denmark before scooping the New York Marathon title. Kwemoi was fourth in Doha.

The pairing will be meeting on track for the first time since the 10000m final at the 2017 London World Championships. Here, Cheptegei came second behind Briton Mo Farah while Kamworor finished sixth.

Kenya may be an athletics powerhouse but they have not won the men's 10000m Olympic gold medal since Naftali Temu at the 1968 Mexico City Games.

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