Ethiopia’s Salomon Barega is the 10,000 metres Olympics champion.
Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda, who holds the world record of 26:11, stayed at the back for the early stages of the race with his compatriot Stephen Kissa out alone at the front.
At some point, Kissa had a 50metres lead prompting Ethiopia’s Salomon Barega to go after him, drawing Rhonex Kipruto with him.
Kissa would stay at the front with Barega eventually dropping to the back of the back, while Kipruto and Weldon Kipkirui took turns at second and third. Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo stayed close, bidding their time to strike.
Kipruto then surged to the front with 17:59.50 with Cheptegei following him into second. Kiplimo remained fourth with Yomif Kejelcha in pursuit, as Kissa dropped out of the race.
With fives laps to go, Cheptegei zoomed past Kipruto with Canada’s Mohammed Ahmed following suit. Rodgers Kwemoi then came to the shoulder of Cheptegei with four laps remaining.
Mo Farah, Great Britain’s double gold medalist in the 10,000 and 5,000 metres, most bizarrely didn’t qualify for these Olympics, leaving Uganda’s world record holder over the distance, Cheptegei, the clear favourite.
Farah’s absence from the field meant a new Olympic champion will be crowned in Tokyo for the first time since 2012.
Naftali Temu was the last Kenyan to win 10,000m Olympic gold during the 1968 Games in Mexico and it seems the wait is not about to end after Kwemoi, Kipruto and Kipkorir finished well outside the medal bracket.[Courtesy-Nation Sports]