By Thomas Odongo
Uganda’s long-distance runner, Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei on Sunday, won a Gold medal for the men’s 5000M finals at the ongoing Commonwealth games in Gold Coast, Australia.
Uganda’s duo of Thomas Ayeko and Phillip Kipyeko were also close to Gold but settled at the fourth and sixth positions respectively.
Cheptegei, 21 was a favorite during the build up for he was one of the talking points and make no mistake the Kapchorwa born starlet finished as first with a winning time of 13:50:83 minutes.
Cheptegei started the race on a low key, lagging behind but managed to track his rivals one at a time to the excitement of the on-lookers at the Carrara stadium.
Cheptegei actually started putting up high pace with only four of the 12 and a half laps left with his rivals looking to have lost momentum.
His closest rivals were Mohammed Ahmed of Canada who finished with the winning time of 13:52:78 and settled for silver alongside Kenya’s Edward Pingua who finished with the winning time of 13:54:06 to win bronze.
Mohammed Ahmed was a real scare to Cheptegai but once he had the lead in his grasp, he could not let it go.
Less than a year ago, Cheptegei won silver at the IAAF World Championship in London and also claimed gold at World Junior Championships in 2014.
Ugandans have now won gold in four straight occasions at the Commonwealth games.
Last year, Cheptegei became a laughing stoke among other race fans circles when he staggered and almost fainted at the World Cross Country Championship held in Kampala.
Cheptegei who looked set to win gold finished 30th after giving away his lead that got his own country mocking him across various platforms after the incident was dubbed the most dramatic moment in the competitions.
Uganda’s president, H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is among the tens of thousands of Ugandans who have expressed their joy for Cheptegei’s heroics.
‘’Congratulations to Joshua Cheptegei for winning gold at the ongoing Commonwealth games. Uganda is proud of you,’’ President Museveni noted on social media.
Several other dignified individuals also expressed their happiness following Cheptegei’s berth.