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Cheptegei wins his first senior title

Cheptegei wins his first senior title

The country’s best athletes turned out for the Ugandan Cross Country Championships in Kampala on Saturday (January 14) to stake a claim for a place on the host nation’s team for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Kampala 2017.

With the championships doubling up as the official test event for the World Cross, Uganda’s best top distance runners got to try out the course at Kololo Independence Grounds. Joshua Cheptegei won the hotly contested men’s race after breaking away from the field in the second half, while teenager Mercyline Chelangat was a comfortable winner of the women’s race.

Cheptegei, the 2014 world U20 10,000m champion, was content to sit in the middle of a large lead pack led by Peter Kibet on the first two-kilometer lap. Once the exuberant early pace settled down, Cheptegei took up the running and led the field through four kilometers in 11:21 as just seven other men were within four seconds of him.

On the third lap, Cheptegei opened up a 30-metre lead over defending national champion Phillip Kipyeko with Abdallah Mande a further 60 metres behind in third place. Timothy Toroitich, winner of two big international cross-country races in Spain this winter, was fourth at this point, while 2012 Olympic marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich was in seventh.

Thomas Ayeko and Moses Kibet, both of whom won medals in the junior races at past editions of the World Cross Country Championships, were in 13th and 18th place respectively at the end of the third lap but withdrew from the race soon after.

Cheptegei, meanwhile, continued to extend his lead over his pursuers. He completed the 10km race in 29:02, finishing 22 seconds ahead of Kipyeko with Mande taking third place. Toroitich held on to fourth, while Kiprotich moved his way up to fifth place.



Senior men (10km)
1 Joshua Cheptegei 29:02
2 Phillip Kipyeko 29:24
3 Abdallah Kibet Mande 29:40
4 Timothy Toroitich 29:42
5 Stephen Kiprotich 29:46
6 Stephen Kiisa 29:53
7 Fred Musobo 29:55
8 Mande Bushendich 30:04
9 Peter Kibet 30:13
10 Felix Chemonges 30:18