NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 13- Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei became only the third man in history to win the 5,000m and 10,000m double at the Commonwealth Games, wading off Canada’s Mohammed Ahmed to claim the 10,000m gold on Friday.
The last person to achieve that feat was fellow countryman Moses Kipsiro at the Delhi Games in 2010.
Cheptegei, who won the 5,000m race earlier in the week, claimed a second victory over double the distance in a new Games Record of 27:19.62. Kenya’s Rodgers Kwemoi, the reigning World Junior Champion held on for bronze coming in third with a time of 27:28.66.
Jonathan Ndiku, gold medalist in the 3,000m steeplechase four years back in Glasgow paid the price for his early burn coming in eighth while Josphat Koech finished 10th.
After a lead group of about eight athletes stuck together for about 15 laps of the race, the wheat began separating from the chaff as the distance reduced. Ndiku who had sprinted upfront at the gun and tried to open up the pace began to tire off.
With seven laps to go, New Zealand’s Jake Robertson, who was part of the leading group decided to take over pace making duties with Cheptegei, Ahmed and Kwemoi following in his shadow.
Only five athletes remained with four laps to go, the Ugandan duo of Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo sticking to the shoulder of Canadian Ahmed and Robertson while Cheptegei quietly pat his feet in the middle of the group.
Cheptegei and Ahmed decided to bolt away with two laps to go, injecting some steaming pace. Kwemoi could not be able to sustain that sudden injection of pace and decided to stay behind.
At the bell, Cheptegei took over the leadership, pumping up the pace as Ahmed painfully tried to keep up. At the end of it all, the Canadian could not sustain the tempo and Cheptegei had his wa for a Commonwealth double.
Kwemoi managed to guard his third spot while Kiplimo came in fourth. Robertson’s run yielded a new National Record for New Zealand after he stopped the clock at 27:30.90.