Uganda’s Kiplimo stuns Kandie to win World Half Marathon gold

Uganda’s teenage sensation Jacob Kiplimo on Saturday stunned a rich field to win the World Half Marathon Championships gold in a new championship record in Gdynia, Poland.

It was a thrilling exchange of leads in the last two kilometres between Kibiwott Kandie and Kiplimo before the world cross country silver medallist won in 58 minutes and 49 seconds.

The 19-year-old’s feat was enough to erase Geoffrey Kamwroror’s previous championship record time of 59:08 set in 2014 Copenhagen. It was also Uganda’s first ever medal from the championships.

Kandie clocked 58:54 for second place with Ethiopia’s Amedework Walelegn coming in third in a personal best 59:08.

World cross country and 10,000m world champion Joshua Cheptegei also from Uganda came in fourth in a personal best 59:21.

This was Cheptegei’s first ever half marathon race.

“It is hard to explain, because I am full of emotions. The weather was really good, as were the conditions and course. I’m so grateful for everyone who has supported me.”

However, Kenya claimed the team title after Leonard Barsoton and Bernard Kimeli finished sixth and ninth in 59:34 and 59:42 respectively, edging out Ethiopia and Uganda to second and third places respectively.

Unlike the women’s race, the men’s battle took to a slow pace with the lead pack hitting five kilometres mark in 14:19.

Cheptegei, who was eying history as the first man to win three major world titles on track cross country and road, guided the pack of 23 through 10km in 28:23 seconds.

However, the race begun to take shape as they approached 15km mark with Kandie and Ethiopia’s Guye Adola shifting gear to apply some pressure.

Kandie stepped up the pace even more as he clicked through 15km in 42:17 and clocked the first sub-14-minute 5km split of the race with 13:54.

But the race curved into a Kenya-Uganda affair with Kandie battling Kiplimo and Cheptegei with four kilometres to go.

The last two kilometres witnessed a thrilling exchange between Kandie and Kiplimo before the Ugandan stepped on his gas pedal in the last kilomore to win.

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