Athletics coach Alex Malinga believes Cheptegei is the medal potential and much stronger than Timothy Toroitich
If there is anyone in a strong position to bring Uganda a medal from the IAAF World Championships that start today to August 13 in London, it is Joshua Cheptegei.
Athletics coach Alex Malinga believes Cheptegei is the medal potential and much stronger than Timothy Toroitich and Moses Kurung when they run in the 10,000m finals tonight.
"When Cheptegei run in the IAAF cross country championship in Kampala, he did a fine job. We only lacked a few tactics that saw him with 2,000m to go, get beaten in the race,”
Cheptegei was leading in the race and the crowd was going wild but with only about five minutes to finish the race, he could hardly run much to his dismay and that of the spectators, no one could understand what was happening.
His demise saw Kenya’s Geoffrey Kamworor successfully defend his cross country crown at the Kololo airstrip. Cheptegei could only pull himself over the line in 30th position, which proved vital in the Ugandan team taking third position in the race.
He was the fourth scoring Ugandan behind Timothy Toroitich, Abdallah Kibet Mande and Stephen Kiprotich, which meant Uganda took the team bronze, just three points ahead of Eritrea. Ethiopia secured team gold by just one point over Kenya who took silver.
Malinga states: “We have been talking to him. The athletics coaches have been sharing tactics with Cheptegei.”
“If he can settle early in the race, plan early and plan well, we will get a medal in London,” he added.
In the absence of Stephen Kiprotich and Moses Kipsiro for Uganda, the medal hopes now lie in Cheptegei.
Malinga could not say much for Kurung and Toroitich but said the athletes run very well in the national qualifiers and the very best should be expected from them.
When the 10,000m race kicks off, Britain’s Somalia born Mo Farah will be in to defend his world 10,000m title.
Uganda’s Esther Chebet will be the first in action tonight when he takes to the track at 9:35pm in the 1,500m women’s heat.