World record breaker, Joshua Cheptegei’s star continues to shine even as he’s buried deep in the hills of Chapchorwa District in eastern Uganda where he’s resumed his training.
The Ugandan long-distance runner was Wednesday evening crowned athlete of the month for August by World Athletics.
“We have a winner. Thanks to his phenomenal 5000m world record, @joshuacheptege1 is August’s Moment of the Month,” World Athletics tweeted Wednesday.
Moments later, the 23-year-old said he was honoured to receive the award and thanked all those who enabled his dream come to pass.
“So honoured to be named as the winner for @worldathletics moment of month. Thanks to you all for the Retweets that enabled me win this deserved recognition for the month of August. One love,” Cheptegei tweeted.
Cheptegei who ensured a thrilling return for competitive athletics last month as he shattered the much-vaunted 16-year-old 5,000m world record at the Monaco Diamond League on Tuesday returned to training after 14-day Coronavirus quarantine.
Cheptegei’s astonishing display capped a warm welcome back for track and field for a season almost wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic, with fellow world champions Noah Lyles and Karsten Warholm also shining on the track.
Upon his return to Uganda from Monaco, the record breaker was subjected to mandatory 14-day virus quarantine like all the other returnees.
On Tuesday, Cheptegei tweeted a video of himself back on the training field and said, “Back to office again after completing 14 days of mandatory quarantine. Unto another great challenge.”
Metronomic pacing and perfect conditions at the Stade Louis II saw the 23-year-old light up the Monaco Diamond League, the first regular top-flight international one-day meet since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cheptegei wiped almost two seconds off Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele’s 16-year-old world record time over the 5,000m as he clocked an astonishing 12min 35.35sec.
“I’ve learned that anything is possible, if you have the right mindset and believe,” the Ugandan said.
“I really thank Kenenisa so much for inspiring me when I started running. He has always been a big inspiration and motivation to me.
“This record is a special moment for me and I like to thank Kenenisa for his inspiration.”
Remarkably, Friday’s outing was Cheptegei’s first competitive appearance since February, when he smashed the world 5km road record, also in Monaco.
Those two world records in a COVID-hit season followed an outstanding 2019 when he secured not only the world cross country title in Denmark, but also the world 10,000m title at the Doha world championships.