BOXSCORE: TOKYO, Japan (July 30, 2021) Ethiopia’s Selemon Barega is the new men’s 10000M Olympic champion following his success in the intriguing final during the opening day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics track and field events.
Barega defeated the world record holder and race favorite Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda who came second, followed by his fellow Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo finishing third as they win Uganda’s first-ever Olympic medals in the men’s 10000M race.
Barega ran a brilliant race just staying behind the early pacemakers before coming to the front with a blistering speed which was too much for Cheptegei and Kiplima.
His winning time was 27:42.22 followed closely by Cheptegei who clocked 27:43.63 and Kiplimo coming third at 27:43:88.
Barega’s win came as a surprise to many as he was not even among the favorites to win the race as Cheptegei seemed destined for the gold following his brilliant form in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics.
However, Barega’s win did not come on a silver platter given the stiff completion from the loaded field and the punishing Tokyo weather- hot and humid which can be very brutal to distance running.
This is Barega’s first senior gold medal in his career. His previous medal cabinet stood as 5000M silver at the World Championship in 2019, another silver in the 3000M at the World indoor championships in Birmingham 2019, gold medal in the 5000M at the World Junior Championship in Bydgoszcz in 2016, and finally another gold medal in the 3000M during the World Youth Championship in Nairobi back in 2017.
The Tokyo Olympics 10000M gold is the biggest achievement of his career.
Barega will be hoping to follow his fellow countrymen who have dominated the 10000M Olympic over the years such as Miruts Yifter who won gold in the 1980 Moscow games, the great Haile
Gebrselassie in Sydney 2000, Kenenisa Bekele who won both in Athens 2004 and in Beijing in 2008.
Now Ethiopia has found the heir to all those legends and the future now looks brighter.
On the other hand, Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei must feel disappointed for not taking the gold home as
he was clearly the man to beat in Tokyo.
The highly decorated Ugandan needed only an Olympic gold medal to make his medal cabinet complete as one of the world’s top athletes.
Cheptegei has won almost everything in his recent arrival on the world athletic spotlight.
However, all is not done in his quest for Olympic gold as he will also be participating in the 5000M race later this week.
But for the time being it is Selemon Barega who reigns supreme in Tokyo.