Joshua Cheptegei: A tale of humility and ambition
By Our Reporter
They say humility and ambition almost never sit still in the same plate. That to achieve you must plough through the world with ruthless abandon. But see, that’s not entirely true; at least not for Athlete Joshua Cheptegei. It is no wonder that the news of his winning the 10.000 meters men’s race in Doha, Qatar didn’t come as a surprise.
He is obviously no rookie; Cheptegei has indeed mastered the art of hard work and merged it with determination over time. Combing the hills of Kapchorwa in Sebei region as a young lad, he had been preparing all his life for this day.
Watching him run, round and round at the same pace was something we were familiar with. Never a show off, Cheptegei has a way in which he masks his ambition, warms up to his opponents, running almost at their pace until they assume he is just as exhausted. In the last lap as fellow athletes almost want to limp, the young man unlocks his energy reservoirs, and burst into a bolt to the finish line. This move saw him come second to Mo Farah in London, but this time round, he looked like he had come to win. Watching him outsprint Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha, whose facial expressions told of a fight to come first, was nothing short of epic!
As the world athletics body would put it: In a brutal race of attrition, Joshua Cheptegei caps glorious 2019 by securing the World Athletics Champion 10,000m title to add to the world cross-country he secured in March. The 23 year old’s love and appreciation for God could be heard and seen from far. “It is God, it is God!” he could be heard saying. His patriotism is just as strong; Cheptgei is clearly Ugandan first! A team player who sought out fellow team members to share in the joy of his win, as somewhere in the thick of this ambition is a selflessness that knows no bounds.
Asked Upon winning, he was quick to recognize the role played by fellow Athlete Abdallah Mande’s role in his winning, despite the fellow athlete who was also in the race not winning. “It was really amazing for me to run with him, he gave me a lot of motivation and that is brotherhood; it was going to be heard without him,” he said. Mande who took the lead in the first 5 minutes was seen whispering to Cheptegei 22 minutes into the race and when asked what it was he had whispered, Cheptegei said it was words of encouragement.
He punctuated all of this excitement with a celebration and even more thanks. “What an amazing year it is, I finally become a world champion!” he boasted. “Thanks to the people who have been part of this amazing journey right Special thanks to my family, wife, training partners, team Uganda 2019.” But for those who know this young man, they understand this is only the beginning, Joshua Cheptegei has only just begun!