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Cheptegei eyes 5000 meters win at Diamond League

By James Bakama

Added 9th August 2020 03:03 PM

The Friday night race will also mark the start of the athletics calendar that has been on lockdown since March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cheptegei eyes 5000 meters win at Diamond League

First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Janet Museveni in presence of the State Minister of Sports Obua Denis Hamson, flags – off Uganda athletes to participate in the Monaco Diamond League. They are Joshua Cheptegei, Winnie Nanyondo, Halim Nakayi and Stephen Kissa. PPU Photo

The Friday night race will also mark the start of the athletics calendar that has been on lockdown since March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joshua Cheptegei will be eyeing the 5000 meters winner's prize when he returns to the Diamond League this weekend.

The world cross-country and 10,000-meter champion won $50,000 (sh200m) after an emphatic win in the final of the 12.5 lap event last season.

The Friday night race will also mark the start of the athletics calendar that has been on lockdown since March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unlike previous years, the Diamond League 2020 will not be a structured series of events leading to a final. Due to the coronavirus upheaval, only 11 instead of the planned 15 athletics meetings will take place this season.

There are all signs that Lady Luck will again smile at Cheptegei in the same European city-state where he broke 5km road world record early this year.

Cheptegei, together with fellow world champion Halima Nakayi (1000m), Winnie Nannyondo (1000m), and Samuel Kisa (5000m) were flagged off by First Lady and Sports Minister Janet Museveni Saturday.

"Please take care to protect yourselves from COVID-19, remember that self-discipline is a big factor in the fight against this virus. God be with you," said Janet Museveni as she handed the athletes the national flag.

The Ugandans were, according to Monaco procedure, first subjected to a mandatory COVID-19 test.

Obua Denis Hamson, the State Minister of Sports toasts with Joshua Cheptegei

Steeplechase star Conseslus Kipruto from Kenya failed the test and will accordingly miss the Monaco Diamond League event.

The Ugandans left on a Uganda Airlines chartered flight to Nairobi on Saturday, then another to Monaco ahead of the August 14 event.

The race organisers of the Monaco event chartered the flights for the 10 Kenyan and four Ugandan athletes.

The men's events in Monaco include 200m, 800m, 1,500m, 5,000m, 110m hurdles, 3,000m steeplechase, and pole vault, while women will compete in 100m, 400 m, 1,000m, 5,000m, triple jump and high jump.

Organizers also confirmed that top athletes including women's world record holder, triple jumper Yulimar Rojas from Venezuela, Dutch 1,500m world champion Sifan Hassan, 10,000m world champion Joshua Cheptegei and French hurdler Pascal Martinot-Lagarde will partake of in the events.

On June 26th, the Diamond League canceled its meets in Paris, France, and Eugene, in the United States because of the current restrictions on mass gatherings and international travel due to the coronavirus menace the world over.

Due to the global outbreak of the fatal respiratory disease, the Diamond League season could not start as planned in Doha on April 17.

Meetings have since been canceled in London, Rabat (in Morocco), and Zürich (in Switzerland) which was originally scheduled to host the season finale in September - while other events on the calendar were postponed due to the pandemic.

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