This is Justin Lagat’s final piece on the Doha WC. We thank Justin for his ten days of coverage of the World Championships.
When you are in good form, you do not even fear to share your race tactics with your opponents!
If there were some guaranteed champions ahead of the Doha world championships, then Timothy Cheruiyot had to be on that list. He had been in a tremendous form almost throughout this year and had told the media about his plans to ensure that he won the championship title in the final. He was going to run around 3:30 to 3:32.
Interestingly, and true to his word, he was the only runner who ran under 3:31.00 as he led throughout the race leaving the others behind him to take the other positions behind him according to the best times they could post. Cheruiyot won the race in 3:29.26 ahead of Tauofik Makhloufi in 3:31.38 for second and Marcin Lewandowski in 3:31.46 for third place.
There is a famous saying about saving the best for the last and the organizers of the Doha world championships must have had that in mind when they scheduled the men’s 10,000m race for the last day of the championships. It was one amazing race to watch. Six athletes ran under 27 minutes.
Uganda’s Abdallah Kibet Mande was the first to move to the front and initiated a fast pace. It could have been a race strategy planned between him a Joshua Cheptegei, just to make sure that it was a fast pace as Cheptegei waited for his time to move to the front towards the end of the race. Mande later faded at around the middle of the race and even moved to the outside lane to give way to the leaders that included Cheptegei as they came to overlap him in the last stages of the race.
The Kenyan duo of Rhonex Kipruto and Rodgers Kwemoi did much of the front running, exchanging the lead for the better part of the race. But, despite such a fast pace being kept, a large group still remained in contention just behind them.
In the final laps towards the bell, Cheptegei took to the front. Kipruto and Yomif Kejelcha followed. Kejelcha moved in an attempt to overtake Cheptegei in the last 200m of the race, but Cheptegei knew exactly what he had to do. He made sure he held on to the inside lane up to the bend towards the home straight. He did that successfully and Kejelcha began to give up with about 50m to the finish line as Cheptegei went ahead to win the race in a world-leading time of 26:48.36. Kejelcha followed in 26:49.34 ahead of Kipruto in 26:50.32.