Tokyo Olympics: Gold rush to begin tomorrow

Thursday, July 29th, 2021 00:00 |
Rhonex Kipruto (313) leads Geoffrey Kamworor (234) and Rodgers Kwemoi in men 10,000m final race during the Olympics national trials at Kasarani on June 19. Kipruto replaced injured Kamworor in team Kenya to Tokyo Olympics. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

Fireworks are expected tomorrow as top athletes prepare to go head-to-head on the biggest stage of in the world.

The men’s 10,000m looks set to be quite a show. With two-time winner Mo Farah missing from the field, a new Olympic men’s 10,000m champion will be crowned in Tokyo for the first time since 2012.

Kenya has not won the race since 1968 when the late Naftali Temu stormed to victory in the 25-lap competition in Mexico City.

Kenya’s chances in Tokyo received a blow when 2015 world silver medallist Geoffrey Kamworor was forced to pull out with an ankle injury.

His place has now beeen filled by world bronze medallist Rhonex Kipruto, while the other Kenyan contenders are Rodgers Kwemoi, who finished fourth in Doha, and Weldon Kipkirui Lang’at.

Moments after he was named by Team Kenya management, Kipruto said he was ready to fit into Kamworor’s big shoes.

“I am excited over the inclusion in Team Kenya. It has been our plan, together with my coach since 2018 when I earned the Under 20 title, to represent the country at the Olympics and I am thankful to Team Kenya management for considering me,” Kipruto told People sport.

Kipruto was part of the leading pack during the national trials in June, alongside Kamworor and Kwemoi before he pulled out of the race in the 20th lap.

In 2018 Kipruto won gold in 10,000m at the World U20 10,000m in Tampere, Finland in the same year he was placed second in the Kenyan National Cross Country Championships.

In 2019 he won the 10,000m bronze at the World Championships in Doha on October 6, 2019 in a time of 26:50.32. The race was won by Cheptegei.

Last year he set the 26:24 10km road race world record on January 12, 2020 in Valencia. 

The former world record of 26:38 had been set by Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda.

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