Selemon Barega beat the reigning world record holder Joshua Cheptegei to finish first on the men’s 10.00m track at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on the evening of July 30.

Selemon Barega wins first gold medal in Tokyo Olympic athletics

Running 10,000m is the first event of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic athletics to award medals, as athletes go straight to the finals. And the honor of standing on the highest podium in this content belongs to Barega after a spectacular performance on the Olympic Stadium, Sapporo on the evening of July 30.

The Ethiopian runner finished first with a record of 27 minutes 43 seconds 22 – the worst among athletes who have won this distance gold in the Olympics since Barcelona 1992. That parameter is also far behind the world records – 26 minutes 11 seconds belonging to the team. about Ugandan runner Joshua Cheptegei, and the Olympic record of 27 minutes 1 second 17 held by another Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekeke.

But this is still a resounding victory for Barega, because his next in Sapporo today is Cheptegei, with 0.41 seconds slower. The bronze medal also belonged to another strong Ugandan runner Jacob Kiplimo – who was 0.66 seconds behind Barega.

Barega excitedly celebrated his victory, when he finished before world record holder Cheptegei.  Photo: Tokyo2020

Barega excitedly celebrated his victory, when he finished before world record holder Cheptegei. Photo: Tokyo2020

On the final run, Barega implemented a strategy of hiding from the wind, only running the chase group through most of the distance. The lead in the first 6000 meters was Ugandan athlete Stephen Kissa. But past the 7000 meter mark, it was the turn of Kenyan runner Rhonex Kipruto to rise, holding the number one position to over the 9000 meter mark.

It was not until the last 800 meters that the race saw a spectacular change of throne, when the number one candidate group accelerated. Cheptegei was the first star to rise to the top, before Canadian runner Mohammed Ahmed tried his hand. But when he reached the last 400 meters, Barega rose to take first place, then held this position until the finish despite fierce competition from Cheptegei and Kiplimo.

Victory in Sapporo on the evening of July 30 also helped Barega set an important milestone in Olympic athletics. He is the successor to Mo Farah – the king on the 10,000m track at the London 2012 and Rio 206 Olympics. But at Tokyo 2020, the Ethiopian-British track and field legend, at the age of 38, was absent because he did not pass. passed the qualifying round.

Nhat Tao


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