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Joshua Cheptegei aims for ‘amazing’ Tokyo double

Joshua Cheptegei
Cheptegei’s 10,000m world record came at a specially-designed event in Valencia in October

Joshua Cheptegei has said his focus is on becoming just the eighth man to successfully complete the 5,000m-10,000m double at an Olympic Games.

The Ugandan, 24, set world records over bothdistances last year, adding to the 5,000m world gold he won at Doha 2019.

“It would be a mountain to climb, but the challenge is up to me,” he told BBC World Service Sport.

“It is demanding a lot, in terms of racing and mindset but I want to give myself a try to win both gold medals.”

Seven men have won both 5,000m and 10,000m golds at the same Olympics, with Britain’s Mo Farah doing the double at both London 2012 and Rio 2016.

As a teenager, Cheptegei finished eighth and sixth in the 5,000m and 10,000m finals respectively in Rio.

“It would be really amazing to win the double, but if I win gold in the 10,000m I would still be grateful,” Cheptegei added.

Uganda have won only two Olympic gold medals in their history, with John Akii-Bua winning the 400m hurdles in 1972 and Stephen Kiprotich winning the marathon 40 years later in London.

Cheptegei wears Nike’s ZoomX Dragonfly spikes, which transplant the sportswear giant’s controversial combination of highly resilient foam and carbon plates to the track.

However Cheptegei believes that, with the same technology available to all athletes if they want it, he doesn’t have any unfair advantage.

“The shoes really do help,” he said.

“But in this case the shoes are not only available to Mr Cheptegei.

“They are available for everyone who wants to attack the world record.

“You have seen the likes of Yomif Kejelcha, Selemon Barega…it is not about shoes only, but athletes having this period concentrating more on training and not travelling.

“I was focused on just this one thing. And that was breaking the world record.”


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