Eighteen-year-old Ugandan long distance runner Jacob Kiplimo’s stock has continued to rise after yet another victory on the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Cross Country Permit Circuit in Seville, Spain on Sunday.
The Ugandan teenager who won the first three Permit legs in Spanish towns of Burgos, Soria and Albendacos in November before a 10Km world record at the San Silvestre Vallecana road race in Spain on New Year’s Eve claimed his fifth win of the winter season in a time of 27min 48sec at the Cross Internacional de Italica.
As was expected, Kiplimo’s closest rival was his compatriot Joshua Cheptegei, who finished 16 seconds behind in 28:04.
Third place was taken by Kenyan born Albert Rop who now competes for Bahrain. The 26-year-old, who finished second in the Asian Games 5,000 metres last year, came home just two seconds behind Cheptegei.
At the same race last year, it was Cheptegei who finished first, barely a second ahead of Kiplimo, which surely helped spur Kiplimo on to reverse that result today.
But the 2018 Commonwealth Games double Gold medalist was unfazed by his latest defeat by his younger compatriot as he said his focus lies on the World Cross Country Championships in Denmark.
“Focus is on the World Cross-Country title in Denmark so I have to prepare well,” Cheptegei said after the race.
In the women’s event, pre-race favourite Stella Chesang of Uganda, who won the 2018 Commonwealth Games 10,000m title, was beaten by Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech.
Despite the high expectations placed on Chesang, the 22-year-old lost by a comfortable distance as Chepkoech crossed the line a full 34 seconds ahead in 28:01. Turkey’s triple European cross-country champion Yasemin Can, who was born in Kenya, finished third in 29:04.
The next IAAF Cross Country Permit is scheduled to take place next Sunday (January 27) in San Vittore Olona in Italy. The circuit will then end with the Almond Blossom Cross Country race in Portugal on February 3.