Cheptegei outlines target ahead of Diamond League meet

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Cheptegei outlines target ahead of Diamond League meet
Joshua Cheptegei is fine-tuning for the 10000m gold in Paris

LOS ANGELES | Reigning 5000m Olympic champion and three-time 10000m World champion Joshua Cheptegei is not focusing on setting a new record at the Diamond League in Oslo in two weeks.

Instead, he plans to use the race in the Norwegian capital as a test preparation for the assault on the 10000m title at the Paris Olympics.

Cheptegei shared his views with NBS Sport US correspondent Grace Lindsay Mbabazi after finishing third in a time of 12:52.38 at the 2024 USATF Los Angeles Grand Prix.

Ethiopian Selemon Barega won the race in 12:51.60 with compatriot Berihu Aregawi crossing the finish line second in 12:52.09 at UCLA’s Drake Stadium.

In the same race, Jacob Kiplimo finished fourth crossing the line 12:52.91.

"For me, I don't like to do too many things. I think I will do one more race, and that might be the Diamond League as my final preparation for the Olympics," Cheptegei said.

"My focus won't be on winning or setting another record; I will be just following the pace because I don’t know who will win, but I wish the best of luck to whoever does.

"I don’t want to go too fast; it's a big year, and I need to get things right, especially the feel of the last lap," Cheptegei said.

Joshua Cheptegei (centre) and Jacob Kiplimo took their strides behind the Ethiopians

When asked if he will be competing in both the 5000 and 10000m at the Paris Olympics, Cheptegei observed that emphasis is on the latter.

"The plan for the Olympics is not to win both the 10,000m and 5000m, but to win the 10,000m. If I win the 10,000m, I don’t care about the 5000m. I want to win the 10,000m," he reiterated, with a smile.

He was beaten by Ethiopia's Berega to 10000m gold in Tokyo four years ago, and that perhaps explains his burning desire to win that elusive gold.

Cheptegei holds world records for the 5000m and 10,000m, as well as the world's best time over the 15km distance. He is the reigning Olympic champion in the 5000m and the reigning three-time World champion in the 10,000m.

Additionally, Cheptegei won gold in both the 5000m and 10,000m at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2019 IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

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