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Omne trium perfectum is Latin for everything that comes in threes is perfect.

The first time a similar phrase was uttered was in 1839, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning: “The luck of the third adventure is proverbial.”

For Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda, luck would have nothing to do with his winning his third World Championships 10,000m, but the win was certainly the charm.

Finishing in second was Kenyan Daniel Simiu Ebenyo in 27:52.60. Selemon Barega of Ethiopia took third in 27:52.72. It appears that Cheptegei can win fast and he can win tactically too. Next up is the long game, can he win more? The short answer is yes.

The Ugandan first won World’s gold during the 2019 Doha World Athletics Championships clocking a 26:48.36 performance. He followed that up in Eugene last year in a more tactical race recording a 27:27.43 finish. On Sunday, in Budapest, during the final lap, he got into a sprint battle with Selemon Barega and with 80-metres to go dropped the Ethiopian for good, while Ebenyo made a go over the final metres. This time Cheptegei finished in 27:51.42.

On the cusp of being the greatest of all time?

The 26-year-old first made a name for himself with his statement-making Doha win. He then went on to destroy Kenenisa Bekele’s two world records in 2020. First, in August he ran the 5000m in the time of 12:35.36 in Monaco at the Diamond League. Two months later in Valencia, Cheptegei ran a blistering 26:11.00. Bekele’s records had stood for 16 and 15 years at 12:37.35 and 26:17.53, respectively. Bekele at the time was considered the greatest distance runner of all time having won 12 World Cross Country Championships including U20 and short and long courses. He is also a four-time World champion in the 10,000m and once in the 5000m.

While British runner Mo Farah won six World Championship gold, three each in the 5000m and 10,000m, he did not set world records at those distances. He does continue to hold six national records and the world best over the one-hour run at 21.33 kilometres. To be in contention for greatest, a world record is a required accomplishment.

The 2024 Paris Olympic Games are just 12 months away. While the Olympics are not the World Championships it would be four “global golds” for Cheptegei if he wins.

As the great aerospace scientist and former president of India Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam once said, “If four things are followed: having a great aim, acquiring knowledge, hard work, and perseverance then anything can be achieved.

For Cheptegei, four times may be more charming, yet.


Men’s 10000m Final – Sunday, August 20

1Joshua CHEPTEGEIUGA27:51.42 SB
2Daniel Simiu EBENYOKEN27:52.60
3Selemon BAREGAETH27:52.72
4Berihu AREGAWIETH27:55.71
5Benard KIBETKEN27:56.27
6Mohammed AHMEDCAN27:56.43 SB
7Rodrigue KWIZERABDI28:00.29 SB
8Nicholas KIPKORIRKEN28:03.38
9Yann SCHRUBFRA28:07.42 SB
10Birhanu BALEWBRN28:08.03 SB
11William KINCAIDUSA28:08.71
12Yemaneberhan CRIPPAITA28:16.40
13Isaac KIMELIBEL28:20.77 SB
14Adriaan WILDSCHUTTRSA28:21.40
15Ren TAZAWAJPN28:25.85
16Sean MCGORTYUSA28:27.54
17Santiago CATROFEURU28:28.49 NR
18Zerei Kbrom MEZNGINOR28:30.76
19Merhawi MEBRAHTUERI28:50.62
20Joe KLECKERUSA29:03.41
21Nils VOIGTGER29:06.79
22Rogers KIBETUGA29:10.07

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