Joshua Cheptegei was the silver medalist in the 10,000 meters at last summers’ London 2017 World Championships. His 5000 meters in Gold Coast Games was a classic performance. Here is Justin Lagat’s coverage of the fine event today (he also wrote about Paris and Rotterdam for @runblogrun for us). Cheptegei is a bit of a rock star in Uganda. Like 2012 Olympic and 2013 World Marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich, Joshua is quite popular in his homeland. Joshua Cheptegai is entered in the 10,000 meters and 5,000 meters. We understand that his focus was the 5,000 meters.
Congrats go to Joshua Cheptegei on taking the first track medal of the Commonwealth Games.
Throughout the first half of the race, Cheptegei stayed just behind the pack while the pace was still relatively slower. Kenya’s favorite and world under 18 3000m champion, Edward Zakayo seemed to be undecided whether to move to the front or remain back as he stayed on the outside lane. Kenya’s David Bett did pace in the first few laps before leaving it to Grvazio Mpani of Malawi who was able to open up a sizable gap before Zakayo decided to connect the huge chasing pack again to him.
With four laps to go, when Canada’s Mohammed Ahmed took to the front, it became a fierce battle and the main contenders slowly began to remain in the leading pack that was composed mostly of the Ugandans. The field was soon in a single file with the battle for the title clearly between Cheptegei and Ahmed as they approached the bell. Cheptegei, the world silver medalist from London last year, was able to hold off Ahmed in a sprint finish to win the gold medal in 13:50.83 as Ahmed settled for silver while Kenya’s Zakayo held on to take the bronze medal.
The first athletics event to happen on the first day of athletics, however, was the men’s 20km event followed by the women 20km walk as well. Both races were dominated by the host nation. Australia won gold in the women’s event through Jemima Montag and another gold medal in the men’s event through Dane Bird-Smith. Tom Bosworth of England won the silver medal while Samuel Gathimba became the first Kenyan to win a bronze medal at the Games in an event that is not well associated with the Kenyans; the men’s 20Km walk.