Two years ago, Jacob Kiplimo was relatively unknown when he won 10000m bronze – Uganda’s only medal – at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Thereafter, he became the youngest runner to feature at the Rio Olympic Games, three months before his 16th birthday.
On March 26, 2017 in Kololo, his profile grew bigger when he raced to Uganda’s first World cross-country gold after scooping the junior men’s 8km title in front of President Museveni.
Uganda will now start its quest for medals at the World Junior Championships in Tampere, Finland today with Kiplimo as the main hope.
The 17-year-old is favourite to convert 2016 bronze to gold when he lines-up for the men’s 10000m final at the Tampere Stadium track this evening.
Since Kololo, Kiplimo’s personal best of 27:26.68 (time in Poland) hasn’t bettered but he has grown further in stature as evidenced by winning the IAAF Cinque Mulini Cross Country in Italy in February before taking fourth in 10000m final at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Following preparations by his Italian managers Guisseppe Gambrone and Federico Rosa at the Tuscany Camp, Kiplimo now bids to follow the footsteps of Joshua Cheptegei and Boniface Kiprop who scooped 10000m junior in Oregon (2014) and Grosseto (2004). Kiplimo will be in company of Victor Kiplangat, a 5000m finalist in Bydgoszcz two years back but the Ugandan pair face competition from African junior cross-country champion Kenyan Rhonex Kipruto.
Eritrea is banking on Abraha Kokob and Robel Sibhatu, who have made personal bests (PB) of 28:23.11 and 28:48.72 this season whereas Ethiopia counts on Berihu Aregawi and Olika Adugna.
TEAM UGANDA IN TAMPERE: Stella Wonruku, Sarah Chelangat, Peruth Chemutai, Belinda Chemutai, Hosea Kiplangat, Daniel Kiprop, Oscar Chelimo, Jacob Kiplimo, Victor Kiplangat, Albert Chemutai, Denis Cherotich
OFFICIALS: Zubairi Galiwango, Paul Okello, Peter Chelangat