Cheptegei aims to fill Farah's spikes

Uganda's Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei celebrates taking silver after the men's 10,000m athletics event at the 2017 IAAF World Championships. AFP PHOTO / Kirill KUDRYAVTSEVKIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images

Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei, Uganda's 10 000m silver medalist at the recently concluded IAAF World Championships in London, says his target is to become a triple international title holder.

Cheptegei settled for second place behind world champion Mo Farah in London. He set a personal best time of 26:49.94, while Farah set a time of 26:49.51. The young athlete did not take part in the 5 000m race because of injury.

Speaking to KweséESPN at the National Council of Sports (NCS) headquarters at Lugogo, the runner said that since England's Farah is now retired, it is his, Cheptegei's, turn to dominate.

The soft-spoken 20-year-old said: "I still have age on my side and I love what I am doing.

"My target is to be the Olympic, World Championship, and Commonwealth Games champion."

In March this year at the IAAF World Cross Country Championship in Uganda, Cheptegei collapsed with 900 metres to go, leaving Kenya legend Geoffrey Kamworor to win the race.

Cheptegei said that since the incident, with support by the President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for medical treatment, he has been more than determined to perform well.

"There is nothing that is going to stop me from dominating the 10 000m race," said Cheptegei.

The 20-year-old also made it clear that he has no intention of changing nationality, despite other countries approaching him. "I love my country and it always feels good running for your country," Cheptegei told Xinhua. "It is always a good feeling representing the country and the national anthem is being played. I am still young and will continue to run for Uganda and not change nationality to get paid," he added.

Dominic Otuchet, President of the Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) told KweséESPN that they have confidence that Cheptegei will soon dominate, perhaps in both the 10,000m and 5,000m races.

"He is a young and determined athlete who still has a bright feature ahead," added Otuchet.

About declining a change in nationality, Otuchet said that although Uganda does not reward athletes as handsomely as some nations, he believes they have the country at heart and will continue to fly the national flag high.