There is no doubt that Ugandan long-distance runner Joshua Cheptegei is an Olympic champion after claiming the 5000m gold at the Tokyo Games in Japan.
A week earlier, he had taken silver in the 10000m final. Also, Cheptegei is the undisputed king of long-distance running having grabbed nearly every piece of silverware on offer in the last four years.
Cheptegei currently holds the 5km, 5000m and 10000m world records. He has the 5000m Olympic title, the 10000m world title, the Commonwealth double and the World Cross-country title. The man, who is building a training facility back home in Kapchorwa, would have started training for next season early in order to attempt defend his global cross-country title but now, his schedule will ease up a bit.
This is after World Athletics this week postponed the event by a year until 2023. The event was set to take place in Bathurst, Australia on February 19, 2022 but the prevailing Covid-19 situation means the event will wait for an extra year. The postponement is due to the biosecurity measures and travel restrictions currently in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Australia, according to a World Athletics statement.
Similarly, Australian borders are closed to international visitors, it further read. It means that more than 500 athletes from 60 countries will compete at the tough Mount Panorama course in Bathurst on February 18, 2023. For Cheptegei who won the senior men’s 10km title at the previous cross-country edition in Aarhus, Denmark in 2019, it means now he will solely prioritize defending his world title over the 25 laps when the Eugene World Athletics Championships come July 15-24 in USA. “Defending the 10000m title is my priority next year,” Cheptegei told Daily Monitor recently.
After Eugene, the next Worlds come held in Hungarian capital Budapest in 2023. Cheptegei may likely not compete in Birmingham to defend his double at the Commonwealth Games which come days after Eugene from July 28 – August 8. The championships are close because of postponements arising from the pandemic.
However, Cheptegei may opt to compete in the World Half-Marathon Championships set to take place in Yangzhou, China on March 27, 2022.