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How Jacob Kiplimo cantered to victory in Poland

By James Bakama

Added 19th October 2020 04:30 PM

His signature winning style was again on display at the weekend

How Jacob Kiplimo cantered to victory in Poland

His signature winning style was again on display at the weekend

Right from the day Jacob Kiplimo was first spotted by coaches, there was an aura of uniqueness about him.

"He was only 13 but beat much bigger boys in a very competitive race. Then there was also something about his demeanour showing confidence far beyond his years," remembers a coach.

Two years later he was making his international debut getting bronze at the 2016 IAAF U20 Championships.

To prove that he was eyeing even bigger things, he then clocked 13:24.40 in the 5000m to qualify for that year's Olympics as Uganda's youngest ever competitor ever at the Summer Games.

In Brazil he clocked 13:30.40 finishing eleventh in the preliminaries.

His moment finally came early 2017 when he raced into the record books as Uganda's first World Cross-Country champion.

What followed was a string of road and cross-countries victories that saw him claim the scalps of many stars, fellow Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei inclusive.

The latter part of his 2019 was however undermined by injury that saw him miss the World Championships in Doha.

But amidst the COVID-19 pandemic has been Kiplimo's recovery.

The 19-year-old has also been in sensational form this year, clocking a world-leading Ugandan record of 7:26.64 for 3000m in Rome and setting a 5000m personal best of 12:48.63 in Ostrava.

His last clash with Cheptegei was at the 2019 World Cross Country Championships, where he shared the lead for much of the way before finishing second behind his compatriot.

Before that, however, he had comfortably beaten Cheptegei at the Uganda Cross Country Championships and the Cross Internacional de Italica in Seville earlier that year.

Kiplimo went to Gdynia, Poland with slight advantage over Cheptetei of having previously contested a half marathon; he ran 1:01:53 at altitude in MTN Kampala Marathon at the end of last year, winning by more than a minute.

But Cheptegei still commanded the spotlight going to Poland with three world records to his name. Who could have been a better favourite?

Not even the mighty Ethiopians and Kenyans seemed to stand in Uganda's way. That three time Kenyan champion Geoffrey Kamworor was also missing, further strengthened Uganda's case.

Kamworor had a motorcycle accident earlier this year in the Kenya highlands.

But as Saturday's race got into the final 5km loop it was clear that it was Kiplimo who had the stronger legs. He raced to the front to win while Cheptegei finished fourth.

Signature finish

Kiplimo's signature winning style of keeping it late before surging ahead was again on display at the weekend. This is in sharp contrast to Cheptegei's record breaking running style of taking early leads.

Kiplimo on Saturday raced to another Ugandan record as the country's first individual world 21km podium finisher. His gold also thrust Team Uganda to the bronze medal.

The effort paid off with a $30,000 winner's cheque for Kiplimo.

Kiplimo factfile

Born: Nov 14, 2000

Club: Athletica Casone Naceto

Manager: Federico Rosa

Personal bests

1500m: 3:50.24 min (2016)

3000m: 7:26.64 min (2020)

5000m: 12:48.63 min (2020)

10000m: 27:26.68 min (2016)

10K: 28:17 min (2018)

10K: 26:41 min (31 December 2018) (fastest ever run (at the time), but it was not officially ratified as a world record due to the downhill nature of the course

21k: 58:49 (Championship record)

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