Category Archives: Athletics


Joshua Cheptegei has turned his attention to winning his maiden title at the World Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia next month after bursting through the 13-minute barrier to improve the world 5km record in Monaco last weekend.

“This is a great confidence boost in my current form and my ability on the road,” said the 23-year-old Ugandan, who will be making his debut over the half marathon distance when he lines up in the Polish city in just under six weeks.


“Coming off a very successful 2019 it has been the perfect start to his season to show that his approach is already paying off,” his manager, Jurrie van der Velden, said. “He is very excited to see what the World Championships has in store.”

It took little time for Cheptegei to pick up in 2020 where he left off in 2019.

In a largely solo performance at Sunday morning’s Monaco Run 5km, Cheptegei shattered the world record over the distance, clocking 12:51* to clip a whopping 27 seconds from the previous mark of 13:18 set by Kenyan rival Rhonex Kipruto.

Cheptegei’s command performance not only eclipsed Kipruto’s pending world record and the most recently ratified record of 13:22, set by Robert Keter in Lille on 9 November, but also bettered the fastest time ever recorded for the distance, Sammy Kipketer’s 13:00 clocking in Carlsbad, USA, in 2000, well before the 5km became an official world record event in November 2017.

“I had sub-13 minutes in my mind so when my legs felt good during the race I decided to really go for it,” Cheptegei said. “To take this many seconds off the record makes me very happy and is a great first test for me in an important season.”

Making his record-breaking intentions clear, Cheptegei blitzed through the first kilometre in 2:31, before settling into a rhythm that produced 2:35, 2:36 and 2:35 subsequent kilometres. He sealed the record with a closing 2:32 kilometre. But the end result was by no means his limit, he believes.

“He thinks he can still improve on this world record,” Van der Velden, said. “There are some areas that allow for gains but he thinks that this world record has the chance to stand for a while.”

Sunday’s world record run was Cheptegei’s second in just 11 weeks.

On 1 December, Cheptegei smashed the world record for 10km, clocking 26:38* at the 10K Valencia Trinidad Alfonso. While the record was short-lived – Kipruto broke it six weeks later on a different course in the same Spanish city – the performance nonetheless capped one of the most sensational all-around distance running seasons in recent years.

That record run came less than two months after he cruised to the world 10,000m title in Doha where he clocked 26:48.36, the fastest in the world last year. And that about seven months after he led a Ugandan 1-2 finish at the World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus, clocking 31:40 over a notoriously difficult 10.24km course.

After his eagerly-anticipated appearance in Gdynia, Cheptegei will then focus his attention on the Olympic 10,000m final in Tokyo on 31 July where he’s expected to face defending champion Mo Farah, and quite likely, Kipruto, whom he had defeated in a thrilling battle in Doha last year.

Joshua Cheptegei, World Half Marathon Championships Gdynia, IAAF, © Etienne Fiacre
Joshua Cheptegei,
© Etienne Fiacre

– Cheptegei on his 2020 aspirations: ‘I want to go and make history’ (feature published today, 18 February)
– 5km world record report

Joshua Cheptegei – Personal bests:
1500m: 3:37.82 (2016)
3000m: 7:33.26 (2019)
Two Miles: 8:07.54 (2019)
5000m: 12:57.41 (2019)
10,000m: 26:48.36 (2019)
5km: 12:51 (2020) WR*
10km: 26:38 (2019)
15km: 41:05 (2018)
10km: 45:15 (2018)

5km world record progression:
12:51* – Joshua Cheptegei (UGA), Monaco, 16 Feb 2020
13:18* – Rhonex Kipruto (KEN), Valencia, 12 Jan 2020
13:22 – Robert Keter (KEN), Lille, 09 Nov 2019
13:29 – Edward Cheserek (KEN) Carlsbad, 06 Apr 2019
13:29 – Julien Wanders (SUI) Monaco, 17 Feb 2019
13:30 – Benard Kibet Lagat (KEN) Prague, 08 Sep 2018

*pending ratification

AHEAD TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES: Delta State Programme On Track Says Solomon Ogba

Delta State determination to ensure that her athletes made podium appearances at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is on track according to Solomon Ogba the Chairman of Delta State Athletics.

Ogba’s confidence is buoyed by the performance of Raymond Ekevwo in the 60m Indoor over the weekend.

Ekevwo won the race in 6.53 sec, the fastest time in the NCAA this year.

Ogba said the aim of the Delta State Olympics Program is to ensure that Nigeria made podium appearance at the games,

“The task of ensuring that Nigeria succeeds in Tokyo is not what the Nigerian Olympics Committee (NOC) and the Sports Ministry can do alone, every state, clubs and other stakeholders in sports must work with the two organizations so that we can make podium appearances at the games”.

Blessing Okagbare
photo credit: Bromiskelly

Others athletes in Delta Olympics Program are Blessing Okagbare, Ese Brume, Divine Oduduru and others.

Ogba is optimistic that Team Nigeria will succeed in Tokyo,

“Our performances in Tokyo will be better than our performance at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Delta State is determined to help our athletes do Nigeria proud. We have identified athletes that have the potentials to make podium appearance and we have started paying training grants since 2018, those that needed new coaches and training camp we have assisted them. We even employed phycologists and nutritionists for some of them, so I am confident that our athletes will win medals in Tokyo”.

Ogba also congratulated Tobi Amusan on her successful performance over the weekend.

ACCESS BANK LAGOS CITY MARATHON: ValueJet joins the marathon family as Expo begins on Monday

The Central Car Park of the Teslim Balogun Stadium Surulere promises to be a beehive of activity from Monday 27th of January, 2020 as the Expo for the 2020 edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon begins.

Similarly, over the weekend in faraway Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the Project Consultant for the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon Bukola Olopade and Head of Business and Programme, ValueJet, Temitope Ajibola met during the 2020 Dubai Marathon.

At the end of their meeting, the two brands agreed to enter into a partnership.

In a statement released by Access Bank Lagos City Marathon Head of Communications and Media Olukayode Thomas, Ajibola said he is highly impressed by the phenomenal rise of Access Bank Lagos City Marathon to a global brand within five years and is looking forward to an enduring relationship between the two brands.

Thomas revealed that ValueJet and other sponsors and partners of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon will be at the Marathon Expo which begins on Monday.

Thomas urged runners who have registered for either the full marathon or the 10km fun run to pick up their running kits at the Expo.

He also urged those that have not registered for the 2020 race to do so during the Expo as officials of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon will gladly register interested runners.

Teslim Balogun Stadium, 2020 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon, Bukola Olopade,

“The 2020 Marathon Expo will be fun. Apart from intending runners picking up their kits, it will be an entertaining and fun place to be. One of the best DJs in Lagos State, DJ Kelvinator will be on the ground from 9.00 am till 6.00 pm to entertain visitors at the Expo. Our sponsors and partners have concluded to give out gifts and products to visitors and runners after they answer simple questions. Runners and visitors will equally have the opportunity to interact with our celebrity runners and elite runners from Nigeria and other parts of the world’’ said Thomas.


The full ten-meeting schedule for the 2020 World Athletics Continental Tour (Gold level) has been finalised with the addition of Nairobi, which will be the first African host city.

The pilot year of the $US2 million Gold meeting series will now visit four continents – Africa, Asia, Europe and North America – with the first meeting at Nairobi’s Moi International Stadium on 2 May, followed by Tokyo on May 10. The series will finish in Zagreb in September.

Both South America and Oceania will host Silver level meetings this year with a view to staging Gold level meetings in 2021.

With the completion of the Gold meeting schedule for 2020, World Athletics has also finalised the discipline breakdown for each meeting (download), with a broad events spread to maximise competition opportunities for athletes in all disciplines and all parts of the world.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said the impetus for creating the Continental Tour was to provide more competition and earning opportunities for more athletes.

“Between the Wanda Diamond League and the Continental Tour all disciplines will be catered for and many more athletes will have access to top class competition,’’ he said.

Fittingly, given the tradition of African distance runners, Nairobi will stage the 3000m steeplechase, 5000m and 10,000m for men and women as part of its programme. This is expected to be the highest quality senior international meeting to be held in Kenya’s history.

Continental Tour
The Continental Tour will be divided into three levels – Gold, Silver and Bronze – whose status will be determined by the quality of competition and prize money on offer.

World Athletics is investing in the Gold level meetings, which will each offer $US200,000 in prize money, to increase the number of high quality competitive opportunities available to showcase our sport’s best athletes.

Area associations will be responsible for managing the Silver ($US75,000 prize money) and Bronze level competitions ($US25,000). There will be ten Silver and up to 50 Bronze meetings.

© Jean-Pierre Durand

Those disciplines that are not included in this year’s Wanda Diamond League final – 200m, 3000m steeplechase, triple jump, discus – will be core events in the Continental Tour Gold meetings, as will the hammer throw. Each will have guaranteed prize money of $US20,000 at each meeting.

Performances in those events will attract the same level of world ranking points as the core Diamond League disciplines, and the overall tour winners will receive wildcard entry to the World Athletics Championships Oregon 2021.

Host broadcasters have been appointed for each meeting and Infront, the tour’s international TV rights holder, will sell the rights into markets around the world.


The full 10 meet schedule for the Continental Tour Gold is as follows:

2 May – Nairobi KEN (Africa)
10 May – Tokyo JPN (Asia)
13 May – Nanjing CHN (Asia)
22 May – Ostrava CZE (Europe)
1 June – Hengelo NED (Europe)
9 June – Turku FIN (Europe)
13 June – Kingston JAM (North America)
7 June- Szekesfehervar HUN (Europe)
6 September – Silesia POL (Europe)
15 September – Zagreb CRO (Europe)

The full schedule of Continental Tour Silver level meetings is as follows:

20 March – Queensland Track Classic, Brisbane AUS (Oceania)
4 April – Grenada International Invitational, St. George GRN (North America)
2 May – Jamaica International Invitational, Kingston JAM (North America)
17 May – Grande Premio Brasil Caixa de Atletismo, Sao Paolo BRA (South America)
24 May – Janusz Kusocinski Memorial, Chorzów POL (Europe)
11 June – Samorin, Samorin SVK (Europe)
19 June – Meeting of Madrid, Madrid ESP (Europe)
1 July – Spitzen Leichtathletik Luzern, Luzern SUI (Europe)
8 September – 56th Palio Citta della Quercia, Rovereto ITA (Europe)
13 September – ISTAF Berlin, Berlin GER (Europe)

World Athletics

Robert Keter’s World 5km Record of 13:22 Ratified By World Athletics

Robert Keter’s world 5km record of 13:22 has been ratified.

Keter, who was something of an unknown when he lined up for the Urban Trail Lille 5km on 9 November, upstaged a quality field to take seven seconds off the previous world record.

Keter made his way to the front before the second pacemaker dropped out, but three fellow Kenyans – Stanley Waithaka, Davis Kiplangat and Gilbert Kwemoi – were all close behind. Those four men began to pull away from the other athletes in the lead pack with less than a mile left to run.

There was a relatively tight turn at 4km as they looped back on to the Boulevard de la Liberte, but Keter got there first and started to increase the pace for the final kilometre. He continued to pull away from his three compatriots and they were unable to match Keter’s finishing pace.

Keter turned into the Place de la Republique with a clear lead and crossed the finish line in 13:22, breaking the previous world record set by Switzerland’s Julien Wanders in Monaco on 17 February 2019.

Robert Keter’s world 5km record ratified
Robert Keter’s world 5km record ratified
© Organisers

The 5km road distance was introduced as an official world record event in November 2017, with the inaugural record to be recognised after 1 January 2018 if the performances were equal to or better than 13:10 for men and 14:45 for women.

If no such performances were achieved in 2018, the best performances of 2018 (13:30 by Bernard Kibet and 14:48 by Caroline Kipkurui) would be recognised on 1 January 2019. Seven weeks into 2019, Wanders and Sifan Hassan bettered those marks in Monaco by clocking 13:29 and 14:44.

Several athletes, however, have gone quicker than Keter’s 13:22 before the 5km became an official world record event. The fastest time ever recorded for the distance remains Sammy Kipketer’s 13:00 clocking in Carlsbad in 2000.

World Athletics

Edo 2020 National Sports Festival: Competition Director Yussuf Alli Expects Records To Be Broken…

The Competition Director for the Edo 2020 National Sports Festival (NSF) Yussuf Alli on Sunday declared that National and Festival records, especially in athletics, could be broken at the Edo 2020 Sports Festival.

Speaking to sports correspondents in Benin, Edo State after inspection of facilities at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Alli said the base for the track is one of the best, if not the best he has seen anywhere in Nigeria.

Yusuf Alli

“The base is very solid; I am impressed with the job the contractor has done. A good base is to track what good foundation is to a house. Once your foundation is solid; which is the base in this case, then you have solid track and a good track enhances athlete performance especially in the sprint events. I look forward to our athletes taking advantage of the solid base and good track to set new national and festival records in Benin come March 2020”.

Alli revealed that apart from minor adjustments to be done in the long jump, discus, shot-put, and pole vault areas, the stadium is good to go, “These adjustments will be done in less than one week, the stadium is good to go. Since the stadium is set, every other thing will fall into place.”

Alli revealed that beyond hosting to win, the aim of the host state, Edo, is to restore the glory of the festival,

“We want to host a festival where youths in this country are given opportunities to showcase their talents on the national stage. We want to eliminate the idea of one athlete representing a state in an event and revert to the traditional of three athletes per event which is the international standard.

“Any state that has the resources to send three athletes per event should not be denied the opportunity. The idea of reducing events and athletes per events is not good for sports development. We have made our recommendation to the Sports Ministry, owners of the festival. We are awaiting their response. Let me again assure Nigerians, especially the participating athletes, officials and the media that Edo is ready to host the best NSF ever’’ said Alli.


World Athletics officials have praised the planning and preparations for the World Athletics Championships Oregon21, after a busy week of meetings and venue visits in both Portland and Eugene, Oregon this week.

During the visit, delegates toured the under-construction Hayward Field at the University of Oregon, visited local Eugene hotels, and attended numerous working meetings covering accommodation, broadcast requirements, press operations, event presentation and operations, security and ticketing.

The visiting delegation, comprised of both technical and broadcast experts, had a full agenda, beginning with two days in Portland as they considered course options for the championship marathons and race walks that they will now take to the next World Athletics Council meeting in Nanjing, China, for approval in March. They also met with Travel Oregon, a key stakeholder and driving force behind state-wide involvement in the event, and its wider promotion.


The World Athletics Championships Oregon21 will take place in both Eugene and Portland from 6-15 August 2021, with specific dates for the Portland events still to be determined. It is the first time the outdoor World Championships will be held on USA soil. The World Athletics Indoor Championships took place in Portland in 2016.

“This has been a packed few days but is important to ensure we are all on the same page in terms of expectations,” said World Athletics CEO Jon Ridgeon. “The Local Organising Committee has a unique approach to resource planning, using the skills and expertise of Oregonians and local partners working alongside experienced international staff with major global event production experts.”

“This is the first time ever that our world championships will be held in a stadium purpose-built specifically for athletics, rather than a multi-purpose sports stadium, which has its own challenges in terms of space but will provide a strong legacy for the sport here in the USA. Our tour of the Hayward Field stadium this week was exciting and although still under construction we can all imagine a world class event in 2021. Athletics fans the world over really have something to look forward to.”

World Athletics Championships Oregon21,
World Athletics Championships Oregon21,

Oregon21 CEO Niels de Vos added: “This has been an excellent visit in which we were able to share detailed plans with our counterparts from World Athletics. We are delighted to have secured World Athletics’ endorsement for those plans and will now double down on ensuring that we deliver against them.”

In addition to all the meetings, one presentation that met with great interest was the unveiling of the logo for the World Athletics Championships Oregon21, which takes great advantage of the in-fill opportunity offered by the new World Athletics branding scheme. The Oregon21 logo features artwork from Portland-based artist Blaine Fontana, and depicts a wide range of Oregon iconography. Fontana’s original artwork will become a mural on the side of a building at a location still to be determined in Eugene.

All in all, the week was deemed a great success, with everyone now looking forward to the next site visit, scheduled for June to coincide with the USA Olympic Trials.

World Athletics