Uganda’s triple world record breaker of the calendar year 2020 Joshua Cheptegei is bracing for a fourth world record at this Saturday’s world half marathon championship in Poland.
Cheptegei has won all his competitions this year setting world records at three of these with his latest in Valencia when he shattered the 10,000 meters record set by Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele in 2005.
The other world records were achieved in the 5000 meters at Diamond league in Monaco and the other early in the year during a five-kilometer event in Monaco.
He knows that Poland will provide a different challenge but is ready to give his best. “Yes I know it’s my debut and I am up against some of the best at that distance but will not concede defeat and will give all my lungs have to at least win this. If it also comes with a world record, then to God be the glory” said Cheptegei who remained in Spain since his last triumph.
The world half marathon record holder Kenyan Geoffrey Kamworor (58.01) misses out due to injury but hands his nation’s baton to Kibiwott Kandie and Bernard Ngeno in an event that will also attract competition from several Ethiopian runners that have previously achieved the sub-60-minutes time.
From Spain, Cheptegei will join his national teammates who have been flagged off by Uganda’s national council of sports with a promise of better funding towards coaches.
“We appreciate a job done by the local coaches over the years and vow to lobby for some kind of payment for them not only after events but sustainably” was what Uganda’s national council of sports secretary-general Patrick Ogwel told the team.
Uganda’s team at the world half marathon includes Jacob Kiplimo who is also debuting at this stage but with a rich history from the past having won the 2017 world cross country junior race and finished runners up at the 2019 event on his debut in the seniors’ category.
The Ugandans coached by Addy Ruiter and Benjamin Njia also have Stephen Kissa, Abel Chebet, Moses Kibet, Doreen Chesang, Juliet Chekwel, Rachel Chebet Zena and Doreen Chemutai.
The men’s field at this year’s world half marathon championship has 157 entries while ladies are 126 with 62 countries represented.