News : “As a child I raised cows and ran through the grass; that’s how I started”
Joshua Cheptegei is one of the proper names of this strange and complicated 2020. In fact, he is one of the main candidates to win the title of ‘Athlete of the year’ whose voting was launched a few days ago by La World Athletics. The Ugandan, brand new world ‘record holder’ of the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, is already on his land, at the height of Kapchorwa (Uganda) ‘resting’ and preparing for a 2021 that promises even stronger emotions with those Games of Tokyo in which he will be one of the great candidates to win the gold in both disciplines. There he trains together with his compatriot and another of the highlights of this 2020 Jacob Kiplimo, world half marathon champion.
Running in the blood
The journalist Xavier Aldekoa has visited for ‘La Vanguardia’ this ‘semi-unknown’ land where the new kings of the fund are being forged. He has been able to chat with Cheptegei about this 2020, about his childhood and about what awaits him not only next year, but in the medium-term future with the marathon on the horizon. “When I was little I used to raise animals, cows, and ran through the grass fields. I’ve always had that dream, that passion for running, a long time ago, even when I had no idea that it could have a commercial or professional value, I always had that passion for just running, ”Joshua says about his beginnings.
A dream year
“2020 has been an incredible year for me, it has been something historic, and I am very proud to have achieved this legendary challenge of accomplishing a phenomenal feat of three world records, especially the 5,000 meters on the road and the 5,000 and 10,000 meters ( on track). Next year is going to be spectacular with the Olympics and maybe one or two world records“Says the Ugandan with overflowing confidence. On whether he is already thinking about his marathon debut in the short or medium term, the world record holder is clear: “Yes, but not yet. Now my goal for this year and the following is to try to win the gold and then my plan is to compete on the track until the 2024 Games and from there switch to the road and compete in the marathon for another six or seven years ”.
On whether Uganda is already at the level of other powers such as Kenya or Ethiopia, Cheptegei assures that “as a country we are on the way but we are still far behind. We still have a lot to do and for that reason a few years ago I created my foundation because my dream is to train many athletes to equal us with Ethiopia and Kenya when it comes to talents and exceptional performances ”.