Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) cheered on as its own Jacob Kiplimo won the 5000-meter International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) 2020 Ostrava Golden Spike World Athletics meet in the Czech Republic. He beat the favorite for the event – the Ethiopian World Championship Silver Medalist Selemon Barega.
Long-distance 19-year-old runner Kiplimo fought off Barega in a fierce home straight brawl to take the win in 12:48.63 – one of 7 meet records to fall on a clear night in the eastern Czech city where 3,000 spectators were allowed entry to Mestsky Stadium to help celebrate the meet’s 59th edition.
At just 3:30 into the race, it was Barega running behind another Ethiopian pacer, Lamecha Girma, who looked to be in control. With 4 laps to go, he was already all alone and well ahead of the sprawled out pack.
But Kiplimo, who was running well behind during the middle stages of the race, worked his way back to the front, moving a step ahead with 2 laps to go. He maintained the lead when the bell sounded with 11:52 on the clock.
Barega put on the pressure, but Kiplimo didn’t falter. The Ethiopian made his final attempt for the win as they hit the home straight, pulling even when the pair shifted into a full-on stride-for-stride, side-by-side sprint. Kiplimo fought that off too and pulled away for good with some 40 meters to go.
Barega clocked at 12:49.08 while further back Yemaneberhan Crippa reached the line in 13:02.26 to break the Italian record.
“I wanted the fastest time, so I kept on pushing,” said Kiplimo, the Silver Medalist in the senior race at last year’s World Cross Country Championships. “It was a fight in the home straight. And it was wonderful.”
It was also the first big meet victory for the teenager after returning from injury.
Born November 14, 2000, Kiplimo is from the stable of Uganda Wildlife Authority athletes which includes compatriot Winnie Nanyondo who also participated in the 1500-meter race finishing 9th.
Kiplimo previously represented his country at the 2016 Summer Olympics. He is the 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Junior Champion. In 2019, he became the World Cross Country Silver Medalist at the age of 18.