World record holder Joshua Cheptegei took the gold in the gruelling men’s 5000m final at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium, finishing ahead of Mohammed Ahmed of Canada, who took the silver, and Paul Chelimo of the United States who scooped the bronze.
Cheptegei, with a time of 12 minutes, 58.15, became the first Ugandan to win the event as he bagged the Olympic gold that has eluded him for so long.
“It’s really a great moment,” the Ugandan hero said after the race. “I made a small mistake and I was regretting [having] to become a silver medallist. I came here to become an Olympic champion and my dream has been fulfilled today in a beautiful evening”
“I knew a lot of guys were strong so I had to take them through the lap and whoever was the strongest in the mind [would win],” the Olympic champions and 5000m world record holder added. “I knew I was strong in the mind because I broke a couple of world records.”
Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda was in front of the pack early, but his countryman Cheptegei took over the front spot midway through the race and didn’t let go of it until a six-man pack pushed ahead of the rest to set-up the final push. Cheptegei sealed the gold with a ferocious charge over the last section, with Ahmed nipping second.