TEN YEARS AFTER KIPROTICH, KIPLANGAT WINS MARATHON GOLD FOR UGANDA
By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2023 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved – Used with permission.
BUDAPEST (27-Aug) — Ten years after Stephen Kiprotich became the first Ugandan to become a world marathon champion, Victor Kiplangat repeated that feat here today in Heroes’ Square. The 23 year-old Kiplangat, who won the Commonwealth Games marathon title one year ago, ran a savvy race capped by a strong close and crossed the finish line in 2:08:53, a solid time given the hot, humid and sunny conditions. He gave Uganda their second gold medal at these championships after Joshua Cheptegei’s 10,000m win last Sunday.
“The day was actually good for me; the day was my day,” a serious and soft-spoken Kiplangat told reporters right after the race. “God has favored me. This is the dream I have been dreaming.” He added: “I really thank God that he gave me this opportunity to win this gold medal today.”
Ten years ago on a similarly hot day in Moscow, Kiprotich beat two Ethiopians –Lelisa Desisa and Tadese Tola– to get the gold medal. When asked how important it was to him for a Ugandan man to once again be a world marathon champion, Kiplangat’s face lit up.
“It means a lot to me that the restoration has come to Uganda,” Kiplangat said. “Because it has been my dream that one day I would dominate this race the way that I did it last year (at the Commonwealth Games), believing that even this year I could do something to become a world champion.”
Kiplangat, who only began his marathon career in 2021 and who has a career best time of 2:05:09, kept himself near the front of today’s race at all times, and did not waste any energy with unnecessary surges. Ignoring an impetuous move by Mongolia’s Ser-Od Bat-Ochir, who shot up the road at 2:06 pace in the first five kilometers, Kiplangat instead glided along with the main pack. He kept his eyes on the strong Ethiopian team, led by defending champion Tamirat Tola and 2:04 man Leul Gebresilase.
“I was worried of these Ethiopians,” Kiplangat explained. “(But), I realized that when you prepare well and be disciplined and you focus… my focus was to win the gold medal today.”
Just before 10-K (30:25), the main pack swept past Bat-Ochir who, sadly, dropped out of what was his 11th World Athletics Championships marathon (he was seen on the side of the course rubbing his right hamstring). Kiplangat was just one of 15 men who were within four seconds of…