Kenya/Uganda: Uganda's Kiplangat Dares to Dream of Epic Showdown With Goat Kipchoge in Paris Olympics

29 August 2023

Budapest — Victor Kiplangat, the young man who gave Uganda its second World Championships marathon gold is optimistic to challenge world record holder and double Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge at the Paris Olympics next year.

The Commonwealth Games champion says he loves challenges and believes his indomitable spirit is what will catapult his career to the next level.

At only 23 years, Kiplangat may still have some work to do before challenging the crème de la crème of marathon majors, but his World Championships and Commonwealth Games titles as well as a top 8 at World Under-20 Championships speaks volumes about where he desires to take his career in the near future.

"I will be at the Olympics; that is if God gives me the opportunity, my focus is now to see how to approach next year. I know it's going to be tough because Kipchoge (Eliud) will be back in the saddle but I will fight for the Paris gold and my country."

Kiplangat reckons that It's one thing eyeing Kipchoge's scalp in the Summer Games but another thing working towards that greatness.

"It was a good day in the office. God has favored me with this opportunity. This is what I have been dreaming of from my childhood, and being a Commonwealth Champion, the pressure was immense on my side but I was able to hack it."

Speaking about his race adversaries, Kiplangat sounded quite febrile but relaxed as described his career best achievement in marathon.

"I realised that when you prepare well and you're disciplined and focused, nothing is impossible. My focus was to win a gold medal today in the city, and it has come to pass. I didn't know my teammate fell down but I thanked God we were able to finish."

"I want to believe Kenyans and Ethiopians are still strong but I think their bodies didn't respond well to this brutal European weather. I was wary of the Ethiopians but it seems it was my day."

In Birmingham, Kiplangat lost his way on the course but still managed to pick himself up to victory.

Asked to compare his Birmingham victory to this year's, Kiplangat went on: "Budapest was tougher given the weather conditions. Commonwealth I resorted to experience which again helped me to win in Budapest. I have learnt a lot until now and I can only hope for a better future."

Kiplangat trains in Kapchorwa in the Eastern region of Uganda along with his teammate three times 10,000m world champion Joshua Cheptegei who will be moving on to marathons soon.

Cheptegei is also a 5000m Olympics champion and Kiplangat is happy to have a partner who can push him to his limits in training.

"We train together with a group of athletes at Kapchorwa and that has taught that wherever you are doesn't really matter, as long as you are level-headed you can do something. When Cheptegei goes into marathons, we will still train together because he will need my advice and experience."

Kiplangat won the men's marathon in Budapest to edge Maru Teferi of Israel who settled for silver.

Kiplangat broke away on his own with about 4 km (2.5 miles) to spare, crossing the finish line with a time of two hours, 8 minutes, 53 seconds - 19 seconds.

-Alex Isaboke is reporting from Budapest, Hungary-

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