Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei will head back to Netherlands to defend his title at the 34th edition of the Dam2Damloop 10miles road race that will be held on Sunday (23) Amsterdam, Holland.
The 22 year-old who won 5000m and 10000m at Commonwealth Games will not have an easy ride as he will face off with Belgian Abdi Bashir, Ethiopia’s Ayele Abshero and New Zealand’s Zane Robertson.
Bashir who is the 2018 European Championships silver medallist comes to this race with a personal best of 46:40 that he got at this course last year and will be looking to improve on his performance after finish second behind Cheptegei.
The 27 year-old Abshero who is the 2009 world cross country silver medallists champion, will be looking to bring down Cheptegei as carries a personal best of 45:24 over the distance.
The 2014 commonwealth games bronze medallist, Robertson, who recently withdrew from the Copen Hagen Half Marathon, will be on the front line to battle for top honors as he seeks to unseat Cheptegei.
Cheptegei got his 2018 campaign off to a flying start by winning both the 5000m and 10000m titles at the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane in April and was all set to compete at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond Leaque event in Oregon before a knee injury saw him withdraw the rest of the season.
“I picked up a knee injury just before I came to South Africa for the Liquid Telecom Athletix Grand Prix Meeting in March while preparing for the Commonwealth Games. It wasn’t too bad in March and I was supposed to only do the 5000m in Brisbane, but the Uganda Federation asked me to do the 10000m too. Winning both the 5000m and 10 000m was very important for me as representing my country means a lot to me. But it did mean that I had to sit out the rest of the track season as we did not want to make the injury worse,” said Cheptegei.
“It was a precautionary measure,” confirms Cheptegei’s agent, Jurrie van der Velden of Global Sports Communication. “We have big plans for Joshua, which will culminate in 2020, so we thought it prudent that he heals completely and focuses on the road season towards the end of the year.”
The three athletes have been lined up to try and lower the course record of Leonard Komon of 44:27 that he set in 2011.