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Cheptegei leads African stars to Oregon Worlds

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By Allan Darren Kyeyune, Reporter, Daily Monitor

What you need to know:

  • Cheptegei, 25, currently holds the 5000m and 10000m world records, the Commonwealth double and the 5000m Olympic title, will also hope to wrestle the 5000m title from Ethiopian Edris Muktar. Nakaayi will face a litany of talent led by Olympic champion Athing Mu as she bids to retain her two-lap crown.

The long wait is over for the World Athletics Championships. At 6pm Kampala time, the Oregon 2022 edition will get underway with the men’s hammer throw qualifier at the Hayward Field in Eugene, USA.

This is the pinnacle stage of global athletics and Africa won just nine titles at the previous edition held in Doha, Qatar three years ago.

The nine gold medals were shared by Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda. Joshua Cheptegei won the 10000m title while Halimah Nakaayi produced a personal best for the women’s 800m title.

  • PRIME World record test for Cheptegei

  • Cheptegei talks of unfinished business, Kissa

Overall, nine African countries won at least a medal at the Khalifa Stadium in Doha. Now Cheptegei, who is bidding to defend his world title over the 25-lap distance, will lead Africa’s quest for glory on the west coast of the USA.

Silver medallist over the same distance at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics last August, Cheptegei’s title defence will be backed up by Stephen Kissa and world half-marathon champion Jacob Kiplimo on Sunday.

Cheptegei, 25, currently holds the 5000m and 10000m world records, the Commonwealth double and the 5000m Olympic title, will also hope to wrestle the 5000m title from Ethiopian Edris Muktar. Nakaayi will face a litany of talent led by Olympic champion Athing Mu as she bids to retain her two-lap crown.

There are others like Kenyan Timothy Cheruiyot will face stiff competition from Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen over the 1500m distance.

Other African stars set to bid for glory include South African sprinter Akani Simbine, Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon, Burkina Faso’s world triple jump bronze medallist Hugues Zango among others.

According to World Athletics, 37 of the 43 individual winners from Doha will aim to defend their titles in Eugene.

That starts with Japanese Toshikazu Yamanishi who will attempt to retain his 20km race walk final on the morning programme of Day 1 action tomorrow.

Besides the champions from Doha, 42 individual gold medal winners at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are in Eugene too.

TEAM UGANDA TO OREGON WORLDS:
Women: H. Nakaayi (800m), W. Nanyondo (1500m), P. Chemutai (3000m Steeplechase), E. Chebet (5000m), M. Chelangat (10000m), S. Chesang (10000m), I. Chemutai (Marathon)
Men: T. Orogot (200m), R. Musagala (1500m), P. Maru (5000m), O. Chelimo (5000m), J. Kiplimo (10000m), S. Kissa (10000m), J. Cheptegei (5000m & 10000m), F. Chemonges, F. Musobo & J. Kiprop (Marathon)

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