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Joshua Cheptegei
Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei Eugene 2014.jpg
Cheptegei at the 2014 World Junior Championships
Personal information
Nationality Ugandan
Born 12 September 1996 (1996-09-12) (age 25)
Kapsewui, Kapchorwa District, Uganda
Height 1.67 m (5 ft 6 in)
Weight 52 kg (115 lb)
Sport
Country Uganda
Sport Athletics
Event(s) Long-distance running
Team NN Running Team
Coached by Addy Ruiter
Achievements and titles
World finals
  • 2015 Beijing
  • 10,000 m, 9th
  • 2017 London
  • 10,000 m, 22 Silver
  • 2019 Doha
  • 10,000 m, 11 Gold
Olympic finals
  • 2016 Rio de Janeiro
  • 10,000 m, 6th
  • 5000 m, 8th
  • 2020 Tokyo
  • 10,000 m, 22 Silver
  • 5000 m, 11 Gold
Personal best(s)

Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei (born 12 September 1996) is a Ugandan long-distance runner, Olympic Gold Medalist (5000m), World Champion (10,000m), World Cross Country Champion, and World Record Holder.

Cheptegei is the tenth man in history to hold the 5,000 m and 10,000 m world records concurrently, both set in 2020. In 2017, he became the silver medalist in the 10,000 metres event at the World Championship in London. In 2018, he set a world record for the 15 km road race and became the cross country world champion in 2019. In 2020, at a road race in Monaco, he set a new world road 5 km record of 12:51, breaking through the event's 13-minute barrier, taking 9 seconds from the previous best time of 13:00, set by Kenya's Sammy Kipketer in 2000. In August 2020, at the Monaco Diamond League meet, he set a new 5000 metres world record of 12:35.36, breaking Kenenisa Bekele's 16-year-old world record of 12:37.35 set in Hengelo. On 7 October 2020, in Valencia, he set a world record time of 26:11.00 in the 10000 meters, which again improved on Kenenisa Bekele's 15-year-old record by more than 6 seconds. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games (held in the summer of 2021), he won Olympic Gold in the 5000m, and Silver in the 10,000m.

Early life

Cheptegei was born on 12 September 1996 in Kapsewui, Kapchorwa District, Uganda. In primary school, Cheptegei first played football and tried out the long jump and triple jump, but switched to running when he discovered his talent in distance running.

Cheptegei studied languages and literature in Kampala for two years and is employed by the Uganda National Police. His coach is Addy Ruiter. In the timeframe from March to May 2020, he reduced his weekly training sessions from 12 to 8.

Career

He is a silver medallist in the 10,000 metres at the 2017 World Championships in London. He also competed in the 10,000 metres at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, finishing ninth. He ran at the 2016 Summer Olympics in the 5000 metres and 10,000 metres, finishing eighth and sixth respectively. Cheptegei was the 5000 metres and 10,000 metres champion at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. He won silver in the 10,000 metres and gold in the 5,000 metres at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Cheptegei is a four-time winner of the Zevenheuvelenloop 15 km road race in Nijmegen, Netherlands. In 2018 Cheptegei set the world record for a 15 km road race. He finished in 41:05 and improved the world record by 8 seconds, formerly set by Leonard Komon at the Zevenheuvelenloop in 2010. Abrar Osman finished second with 42:34 and the 2017 5000 m world champion Muktar Edris placed third with 42:56.

Cheptegei was the winner of the senior men's race at the 2019 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark. He won in 31:40 on the 10.24 km course. Ugandan teammate Jacob Kiplimo finished second in 31:44, while Thomas Ayeko placed seventh, and Joseph Ayeko tenth; Uganda won the team first-place title.

World records

On 1 December 2019, he set a new 10 km road race record in Valencia, Spain. His time of 26:38 improved on the previous world record, set by Leonard Komon in 2010, by 6 seconds. This mark has since been lowered to 26:24, the world record being held, as of October 2020, by Rhonex Kipruto of Kenya, who also incidentally set it in Valencia just six weeks later, on 12 January 2020.

On 16 February 2020, he set a new 5 km road race world record in Monaco with a time of 12:51. The previous ratified record was 13:22 set by Robert Keter on 9 November 2019 in Lille, France, and the previous fastest time ever recorded over the distance was 13:00 set by Sammy Kipketer on 26 March 2000 in Carlsbad, USA.

On 13 August 2020, a day before the Herculis meet of the Diamond League in Monaco, Cheptegei announced that he aimed to return to the track and run his first official race in the season with a world record time in the 5000 metres, which would be more than 20 seconds faster than his personal best on a track. At the meet on the next day, with the help of expert pace-making from Roy Hoornweg, Stephen Kissa, and Matthew Ramsden, he set a new world record in the 5000 metres with a time of 12:35.36, which broke Kenenisa Bekele's 16-year-old record – the longest duration in the history of the event – by almost 2 seconds. His splits were 2:31.87; 5:03.77; 7:35.14 and 10:05.46. Bekele congratulated Cheptegei from Addis Ababa.

On 7 October 2020, in Valencia, he set a world record time of 26:11.00 in the 10000 metres, which improved on Kenenisa Bekele's 15-year-old record by more than 6 seconds.

International competitions

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing  Uganda
2014 World Junior Championships Eugene, United States 4th 5000 m 13:32.84 PB
1st 10,000 m 28:32.86
African Championships Marrakech, Morocco 10,000 m DNF
2015 African Junior Championships Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 1st 10,000 m 29:58.70
World Championships Beijing, China 9th 10,000 m 27:48.89
2016 Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 8th 5000 m 13:09.17
6th 10,000 m 27:10.06 PB
2017 World Cross Country Championships Kampala, Uganda 30th Senior race 30:08
World Championships London, United Kingdom 2nd 10,000 m 26:49.94 PB
2018 Commonwealth Games Gold Coast, Australia 1st 5000 m 13:50.83 SB
1st 10,000 m 27:19.62 WL/GR
2019 World Cross Country Championships Aarhus, Denmark 1st 10 km 31:40
World Championships Doha, Qatar 1st 10,000 m 26:48.36 WL/PB
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