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Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei wins men's 5000m at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics

Joshua Cheptegei wins the men's 5000m at the Tokyo Olympics
Joshua Cheptegei wins the men's 5000m at the Tokyo Olympics

Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei won the men's 5000m in 12:58.15 at the Tokyo Olympics in a fantastic fast final. Cheptegei was in the lead for the majority of the race. The other athlete to lead the race partly was his compatriot Jacob Kiplimo. Jacob finished in 5th place.

Tokyo Olympics 5000m - Fast and The Furious

The 5000m final was fast from the beginning with a clear strategy designed to take the kick out of the legs of those content to set slower initial paces. There were quite a few athletes who were jostling as all the fast runners tried to keep up with the leading pack. Paul Chelimo even looked like he had stepped on the inside mark on his track at one point.

Of the 16 men in the 5000m final of the Tokyo Olympics, 10 came from the 2nd heat as they used the knowledge of the times from the 1st heat to pace themselves better. The 16th runner, Dawit Fikadu of Bahrain, was put in the final after falling during his heat, through no fault of his. He ended up 14th in his heat.

Much like the 10000m final of the Tokyo Olympics, Ugandans Jacob Kiplimo and Joshua Cheptegei finished close to each other in their heat. They were behind Katir and Chelimo, comfortable in the knowledge that they had qualified. However, the final was dictated by them.

Paul Chelimo and Mohamed Katir after their 5000m heat at the Tokyo Olympics
Paul Chelimo and Mohamed Katir after their 5000m heat at the Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo Olympics haul for Joshua Cheptegei - 1 gold and 1 silver

Joshua Cheptegei was on a tremendous streak in 2020, breaking multiple world records, but his timing in 2021 has not been as impressive. He did win silver earlier this week in the 10000m final at the Tokyo Olympics. Along with Jacob Kiplimo and Peruth Chemutai, he has led a Ugandan break into the strongholds of the Ethiopians and Kenyans in this discipline.

The Ugandans have now won an unprecedented two gold medals in athletics at the Tokyo Olympics.

With this gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, Joshua Cheptegei has secured his place among athletic greats of all time.

Canadian runner Mohammed Ahmed (born in Somalia but moved to Canada as a boy) was a very close second in 12:58.61. Although his timing for the silver medal is close to Joshua's, there was a considerable gap between him and Joshua in the last 50m, which he tried to close before the finish line. He did finish brilliantly enough to overtake Kimeli in the final 100m.

US runner Paul Chelimo, who won bronze in 12:59.05, tracked Joshua right through the race and closed well when it mattered. He edged Kimeli at the finish line but fell short of eclipsing Joshua. Kenyan Nicholas Kimeli finished 4th, a meager 0.12 seconds behind Paul Chelimo.

Mohamed Katir, the Moroccan-born 23 year-old Spanish athlete, was on a tear in 2021, breaking the 3:30 mark for the 1500m and 13:00 mark for the 5000m. His improvement (as compared to the records he set three years ago) by over 10 seconds in 1500m and almost a minute in 5000m are quite startling. He came into the Tokyo Olympics having run an incredible 3:28.76 in the 2021 Monaco Diamond League, only second to Timothy Cheruiyot who won in 3:28.28.

However, Katir's final at the Tokyo Olympics didn't go well as Joshua and Jacob combined to rule the roost.

Tokyo Olympic gold medallist and world record holder

Joshua's historic runs at the Tokyo Olympics will add to his legend. His performances in the 10000m final at the 2019 Doha World Athletics Championships and the World Cross Country made him famous. He also owns the world records in 5000m and 10000m which have secured his place in history.

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Edited by Diptanil Roy
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