Ugandan athlete Joshua Cheptegei is aiming to make a real statement and claim a world record in his first race on the track this year on Friday.
The 23-year-old is aiming to break the 16-year-old world record for the 5,000 metres, set by Ethiopian great Kenenisa Bekele, at the first Diamond League meeting of the year.
Cheptegei does not seem concerned that this will be his first track race this season, which has seen many events cancelled or postponed due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is great time back here again for something special. I am feeling great to compete again and I just hope that the body responds well,” he told BBC Sport Africa
“It’s been a tough moment trying to move out of Uganda but I feel good coming to Monaco in these tough times.
“Just to break it would be awesome for me even if by micro seconds. I mean of course not so many people can do world record. So it will be an historical moment.”
It will be the 10,000 metre world champion’s first race since February, which was also in Monaco and resulted in a world record for the 5km on the road.
His time on the road was 12 minutes 51 seconds, which is actually six seconds faster than he has run on a track.
In order to claim Bekele’s record of 12:37.35 minutes the Ugandan will have to run more than 20 seconds faster than he has ever done on a track.
He and the other returning athletes will also be boosted by having up 5,000 people in the stadium for the meeting, at a time when the majority of global sport is being held behind closed doors.
He will be helped in his attempt by two pacemakers, his compatriot Stephen Kissa and his team-mate Dutchman Roy Hoornweg as Cheptegei aims to run each lap at an average of 60.5 seconds in order to claim the new mark.
“The 3000m point determines your final result,” revealed Cheptegei, who trains in Kapchorwa in eastern Ugandan.
“I and my coach planned for close to 10 special sessions for this world record attempt.
“Training has been a challenge to coordinate especially with small or no groups.”
“No (it does not matter who is pacemakers are). As long as they are good at doing their job.
“However, if it’s someone you train together, it gives you more trust in the process
“Pace setters gives you an ideal hope, extra motivation and extra support,” said Cheptegei.
While a new world record is his goal on Friday Cheptegei insisted he would not be too disappointed if things do not go his way.