First Olympic Medal

Jacob Kiplimo, 20, is a man to watch in the Tokyo Olympics as the world turns its eyes to the long-distance track double beginning on Friday.

The youngster is one who can’t be overlooked when the men’s 10,000m final notebook is opened.

Kiplimo is optimistic, saying he is eying nothing less than a podium finish. “I am going to give it my all. I am out to run out my lungs; if I collapse on the track, be it,” he said.

“My prayer is that the 10,000m race is run below 26:40 minutes such that we have less competition in the last five laps. So the trick is to exhaust the opponents so that they don’t have the last strong kick,” he confidently said.

Kiplimo headed into the Olympics as the world number one in the 10,000m race having posted the seventh fastest time ever while winning the 25-lap race in Ostrava, Czech Republic on May 19.

Kiplimo will be facing stiff competition from his fellow country man Joshua Cheptegei.

Born on November 14, 2000 in Kween District to peasant parents Stephen Arap Simba Chebet and Grace Chesang, Kiplimo did not have the privilege to go beyond Primary Five.

“People laugh at my English, but I am making every effort to improve myself. I try to explain to many people that my background is very humble. My parents did not have any money. More so, my father died leaving us with a single mother with no source of income, so I did not advance in school,” he says.

The rising star was first noticed by many Ugandans during the bitter-sweet World Cross-country Championships in Kololo, Kampala on March 26, 2017. Then, just at 17, Kiplimo stunned the junior field to win the gold, to ink his name in history.

That was Kiplimo’s launch-pad. By the next edition of the World Cross-country Championships in Arhus, Denmark two years later, he had now crossed to the seniors, aged 19. This time he took the silver behind Cheptegei.

Before those exploits, Kiplimo had been a nobody in the remote village in Chemwoneibei, Tragon Parish, Benet Sub-county in Kween District.

He had never dreamt of a big stage or even going to the Olympics. His local coach, Peter Chelangat, says he identified the young boy from his village where he was famed as a star.

It started from Chepkwatit, on the border between and Bulambuli and ended in Gamatui, just near Sipi Falls. Jacob won that race,” he says.

“We started our training programs under Arua Club up to-date,” he adds.

He attributes all the success Kiplimo has put under his belt to discipline and focus on training. “He is determined, has self-discipline and also helps other upcoming athletes to achieve their dreams,” he says.

Chelangat’s only regret is that even with the exploits, Kiplimo is yet to get ‘anything’ from government.

When the Italians took over under the tutelage of Italian manager Iacopo Brasi, Kiplimo got a new home at Atletica Casone Noceto Club. He has now become an established elite athlete with professional management.

First Olympic Medal

To leverage on training, Kiplimo says he shifted his training base from Kween to Kapchorwa District.

After marrying Monesta Kiplimo and siring one baby, he rented for them a house in Kapchorwa Municipality from where he would be able to access training facilities in the urban setting of Sebei region.

The father of one daughter says his memorable race is the 2020 Valencia Half-Marathon in Spain on December 6 where he came second. But, earlier on October 17, he managed the championship record at 57:37 as he won the World Half-Marathon Championships in Poland.

First Olympic Medal

For all his efforts, his siblings have picked a leaf and nearly all his brothers are aiming to make it in the athletics stage.

Throughout his career, Kiplimo has achieved the following;2020 World Half-Marathon Champs: 1st (Men’s 21km), 2019 World Cross-country: 2nd (Senior Men’s 10km), 2018 World Jnr Champs: 2nd (10,000m), 6th (5,000m), 2018 Commonwealth Games: 4th (10,000m), 2016 World Jnr Champs: 3rd (10,000m)