PIC:Kiplimo representing Uganda recently during the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Uganda.(File photo)
HELSINKI - Jacob Kiplimo was left praying for stronger teammates as he was edged to the World U-20 10000 metre gold medal.
Kenya’s Rhonex Kipruto won the race after being partly aided by pace making from team-mate,Solomon Boit to win the 25-lap race in Helsinki on Tuesday.
Kiplimo’s silver was nevertheless an improvement of his bronze at the same stage in 2016, in Poland.
Uganda’s other competitor, Victor Kiplangat who should have given Kiplimo a push finished a distant sixth in 28:42.77. But this was still a personal best.
Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes have for long dominated the long distances because of teamwork.
There have even been cases when a given runner is even sacrificed for the sake setting a blistering pace that ends up burning out unsuspecting opponents.
"My performance was really good today and I am really happy being second," said the 17-year-old who was the youngest athletics Olympian in Rio two years ago.
The silver had Kiplimo striding into the record books as the first Ugandan to win two medals at this stage.
The Arua Athletics Club runner who will make 19 years at the next U-20 world meet in 2020, stands to set even more records then.
This is Uganda’s 12th medal in this biennial event. It is however only Uganda’s second silver.
Benjamin Kiplagat won the first silver in the 3000m steeplechase in Bydgoszcz, Poland a decade ago.
Uganda’s other competitors on Tuesday couldn’t make it to the podium. Sarah Chelangat faded from third position with three laps left in the 5000m race to finish fourth.
Peruth Chemutai, Uganda’s flag bearer in the women’s 3000m steeplechase easily cruised to Friday’s final in 9:34.34.
Daniel Kiprop and Hosea Kiplangat could not progress in 1500m Heats.
The IAAF World U20 Championships is a biennial athletics world championships organised by the International Association of Athletics Federations.
It is contested by athletes in the under-20 athletics age category (19 years old or younger on 31 December in the year of the competition).
The competition was launched as the IAAF World Junior Championships in Athletics in 1986. The name of the competition was changed in November 2015.
Anneisha McLaughlin-Whilby is the most successful athlete at the championships, having won one gold and four silver in individual and relay sprinting events between 2000 and 2004.
Chris Nelloms, Davidson Ezinwa and Dexter Lee share the position of most successful male athlete, at four medals each.