By Mitch Phillips
EUGENE, Ore. (Reuters) -Uganda’s world record holder Joshua Cheptegei showed he had learned his Olympic lesson as he delivered a tactical masterclass to win a second successive world 10,000 metres gold in a superb race on Sunday.
Last year in Tokyo Cheptegei kept his powder dry until the bell, only to be outkicked by Selemon Barega. On Sunday he started upping the ante with over a kilometre to go, throwing in laps of 64 and 63 seconds to stretch a group of eight as they hit the bell.
He then continued to press and though there was a mad scramble behind him that had the healthy crowd roaring in appreciation, he was strong enough to hold the field off and come home in 27:27.43 minutes.
Kenya’s Stanley Mburu, who took a heavy fall on the first lap, recovered well to finish second in 27:27.90. Jacob Kiplimo, who was third in Tokyo, claimed another bronze for Uganda in 27:27.97.
Fast-finishing Grant Fisher just ran out of track in his bid to win a first medal in the event for the United States, finishing fourth, with Ethiopia’s Olympic champion Barega unable to repeat his Tokyo fireworks as he ended up fifth.
Cheptegei, who also took a silver in the event in 2017 and who won Olympic gold over 5,000m last year, will now attempt the elusive double when going again over 5,000 later in the week in Eugene.
(Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Toby Davis)