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Cheptegei takes Uganda’s first gold on opening day of Gold Coast 2018 Athletics

Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei sprinted clear to clinch the first track Commonwealth Games Athletics gold of Gold Coast 2018 in the men’s 5,000m at the Carrara stadium on Sunday.

Uganda's Joshua Cheptegei sprinted clear to take the first track Commonwealth Games Athletics gold of Gold Coast 2018 in the men's 5,000m at the Carrara stadium in the Gold Coast on Sunday. / Photo: Getty Images
Uganda's Joshua Cheptegei sprinted clear to take the first track Commonwealth Games Athletics gold of Gold Coast 2018 in the men's 5,000m at the Carrara stadium in the Gold Coast on Sunday. / Photo: Getty Images

Uganda’s Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei sprinted clear to clinch the first track Commonwealth Games Athletics gold of Gold Coast 2018 in the men’s 5,000m at the Carrara stadium on Sunday.

Joshua Cheptegei, who clocked 12:59.83 to grab a silver medal over the 12-and-a-half-lap distance at the IAAF World Championships in London in 2017 was a class act throughout the race, stopping the clock in 13:50.83.

Canada’s Mohammed Ahmed claimed the silver medal in 13:52.78 while Edward Pingua Zakayo of Kenya took the bronze medal in 13:54.06.

Cheptegei succeeds Moses Kipsiro, winner of the distance double in Delhi eight years ago and of the 10,000m in Glasgow, as an irritating thorn in the side of Kenyan ambitions.

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Jamaica’s Yohan Blake, the 2011 IAAF World Championship gold medallist, won the men’s 100m semi-final in 10.06 to consolidate his position as the gold medal favourite.

Four Africans led by South African’s Akani Simbine, and his compatriot Henricho Bruintjies, Nigerians Seye Ogunlewe and Enoch Adegoke are also through to the men’s final.

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England’s Asha Philip won the first women’s 100m semi-final in 11.21. Michell-Lee Ahye of Trinidad took the second in 11.25, and Christania Williams the third in 11.22.

Earlier in the morning, Australian race walker Dane Bird-Smith turned the streets of Currumbin gold on his way to victory in the men’s 20km Race Walk.

In a very close race, Bird-Smith took the lead with the finish line in sight, finishing just four seconds ahead of England’s Tom Bosworth and securing the gold in a Commonwealth Games record time of 1:19.34.

Kenya’s Samuel Ireri Gathimba won bronze, Kenya’s first-ever Commonwealth Games race walking medal.

“I’m very proud. It was very tough but I did my best,” he said. “My technique was good, and I love road walking. This medal will be good for Kenyan race walking.”

His next focus, he says, is to win the African Senior Championships in Asaba, Nigeria in August. “Other than that, I’m not really sure yet about the future,” Gathimba added.

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