Tokyo previews – Men’s 10,000m

A straight shootout for Olympic gold and the opportunity to claim Mo Farah’s crown. World record holder Joshua Cheptegei will start as favourite but is it his compatriot Jacob Kiplimo who will pose his greatest challenge. Here’s our Men’s 10,000m preview for the Tokyo Olympics.


Friday 30 July 12.30pm (Final)

2021 Top Times

2021 RankingTimeAthleteCountry
126.33.93Jacob KiplimoUganda
226.49.51Selemon BaregaEthiopia
326.49.73Yomif KejelchaEthiopia
426.50.37Berihu AregawiEthiopia
526.57.16Hagos GebriwhetEthiopia
626.58.30Tadese WorkuEthiopia
727.01.06Geoffrey KamwororKenya
827.03.94Daniel MataikoKenya
927.05.51Rodgers KwemoiKenya
1027.07.49Birhanu BalewBahrain

British interest

Marc Scott is the 11th quickest athlete in the world this year but has struggled in recent weeks, with rumours of a potential niggle. If he can get back to the form which saw him dominate the US circuit in early spring he has genuine aspirations for a top six finish, especially considering the Ethiopian squad is limited to three. Sam Atkin had a real breakthrough 2020 and will hope to peak for Tokyo but has looked a little off the pace so far this year, though he did clock a sub 7.40 3000m clocking recently in Gateshead.

The favourites

With Joshua Cheptegui’s human performances throughout 2020, failing to break 7.30 in Ostrava and being comprehensively beaten into sixth over 5000m in Florence, it is likely his compatriot who will start as the favourite. World Half Marathon Champ Jacob Kiplimo’s 26.33 earlier this year, virtually solo showed imperious form and we have already seen in his various duels with Ingebrigtsen he possesses an impressive finishing kick. Uganda will have genuine hopes of a first gold medal since Stephen Kiprotich’s surprise marathon gold in 2012.

An interesting addition to the Kenyan team is Rhonex Kipruto, the World Champ bronze medalist who is a replacement for an injured Geoffrey Kamworor. He boasts the world 10k road best (26.22) and is a world class competitor. He has raced once this year, winning in Portugal over 10,000 in 27.11 in May and did not compete in the Kenyan trials.

Selemon Barega may represent the fiercest challenge for the Ugandans. and is hard to dismiss, alongside Yomif Kejelcha. Both will hope for a first global outdoor gold, and an upgrade from their respective 5000 and 10,000m silvers from Doha.

Our medal prediction

  1. Jacob Kiplimo
  2. Selemon Barega
  3. Joshua Chepetegei


WR: 26.11.00 Joshua Cheptegei (2020)

OR: 27.01.17 Kenenisa Bekele (Bejiing 2008)

Featured image “Bekele Kenenisa 10km run” by Lim CK is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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