Several Ugandans on Tuesday night took to social media to celebrate Jacob Kiplimo’s impressive victory after beating Ethiopian World Championship silver medallist Selemon Barega to win 5000m of IAAF Golden Spike 2020 Athletics meeting in Ostrava.
The 19-year-old Ugandan long-distance runner fought off Barega in a fierce home straight brawl to take the win in 12:48.63, one of seven meeting records to fall on a clear night in the eastern Czech city where 3,000 spectators were allowed entry to Mestsky Stadium to help celebrate the meeting’s 59th edition.
Just 3:30 into the race it was Barega, running behind another Ethiopian pacer Lamecha Girma, who looked to be in control. With four laps to go he was already all alone and well ahead of the sprawled out pack.
But Kiplimo, who was running well behind during the middle stages of the race, worked his way back to the front, moving a step ahead with two laps to go and maintained the lead when the bell sounded with 11:52 on the clock.
Barega put on the pressure but Kiplimo didn’t bend. The Ethiopian made his final attempt for the win as they hit the home straight, pulling even when the pair shifting into a full on stride-for-stride side-by-side sprint. Kiplimo fought that off too and pulled away for good with some 40 metres to go.
Barega clocked 12:49.08 while further back, Yemaneberhan Crippa reached the line in 13:02.26 to break the Italian record.
“I wanted the fast time so I kept on pushing,” said Kiplimo, the silver medallist in the senior race at last year’s World Cross Country Championships. “It was a fight in the home straight. And it was wonderful.”
It was also the first big-meet victory for the teenager. More are likely on their way.
Had it not been for Joshua Cheptegei’s world record in Monaco last month, Kiplimo’s 12:48.63 last night would indeed have broken the long-standing Ugandan record.
The 19-year-old long-distance runner has elevated his profile high enough with three world records (WR) in nine months to add to last year’s 5000m Diamond League (DL) trophy, the World Cross-country title and the world 10000m gold.
But before all that, it is teenager Jacob Kiplimo who was in everyone’s face after dominating the track prior to the World Cross-country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, in March last year.