Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei who was the most favorite for an individual gold at the just concluded World Cross Country Championships has come out to make clarifications and set the record straight about his performance at Kololo Grounds.
Powered on by the partisan home crowds, Cheptegi looked like he was on the verge of replicating his junior compatriot Kiplimo who won the country’s gold in the junior men’s race only to loose the lead with about 900m to go when he horribly faded, letting Kenyan Geoffrey Kamworor to retain his title.
Cheptegei has come out through his social media account to apologize and thank his fans who have stood with him during the difficult few days he has gone through.
“I would like to thank everyone who stood by my side in what I call a most disappointing moment in the history of my running carrier,it was hard to belief and accept, I was really in great shape but #TheHeatingAtmosphere (Humid condition) had to do it all,”
Cheptegei’s speed and poor timing of the power kick overturned to be unfair to his ambition as he faded in the final circuit as he struggled to even be on his feet.
A lot had been said about his health some saying that the 20 years old young athlete could be suffering with serious disease that need medical help.
But in his response to that he said, “I would like to clear what has been going on that my health isn’t ok….as the fact iam appealing to all my fans out there that am 100% Healthy and ready to resume my training, I Know and Belief that it was a price that I paid to rise….I thank The Almighty God who made this happen to me in my own country….”
Hi fellow team mate Stephen Kiprotich who finished 17th at the championships said, “I feel sorry for Joshua (Cheptegei) because he was in great shape coming into the race.
“It’s sad he didn’t win. He made a terrible mistake of breaking away so early. He should have waited at least until the last 2km”.
The same sentiments were echoed by the champion Kamworor who said, “I left Joshua to pull away because I knew his pace was suicide, I held on because i knew I had good energy to kick off at the last 2km,”
“I will never lose hope…..in fact I have hope in Jesus who strengthens me (Philipians 4:13) I look forward to a great season and love you all, To my home people of great SAPIINY/Sebei and the rest of the country I dearly love you all and thank you for your prayers and support,” Cheptegei concluded.
The Championships was honored by 59 Nations from around the world but the event was dominated by the East Africa Nations led by traditional rivals Kenya and Ethiopia.
Ethiopia took the overall lead followed by Kenya and third place went to the host Nation Uganda.
On the medals table Kenya took 12 94 Gold, 5 silver and 3 bronze) while Ethiopia took (4 Gold, 4 Silver and 1 bronze)
It was the first time for Uganda to host the event and it was the fourth time to be held in Africa. Morocco has held the event twice, South Africa and Kenya once each.
The second largest City of Aarhus in Denmark will host the next edition of World Cross Country Championships in 2019.