Kiplimo’s win gives Uganda the historical first individual medal in the World Athletics Half-Marathon Championships.
GDYNIA, Poland, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) — Jacob Kiplimo from Uganda won the World Athletics Half-Marathon Championship in Gdynia, Poland on Saturday, breaking the event record with a time of 58.49 minutes.
Kenyan Kibiwott Kandie finished second, with five seconds behind the winner, while Ethiopia’s Amedework Walelegn took third place.
“I feel great, it was my first time at the World Half Marathon Championships and I won. It is hard to explain because I am full of emotion. Unbelievable. The weather was really good. I’m so grateful for everyone who has supported me,” said Kiplimo just after the competition in an interview for World Athletics.
For Kiplimo it was a massive win as no Ugandan athlete had ever won an individual medal in 23 previous editions of the event. The event turned out to be special, with the first 10 athletes breaking 60 minutes, the first time that ever happened at the event.
Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir was the best in the women’s competition. She broke the women’s world record with the result of 1:05.16. Melat Yisak Kejeta from Germany came second and the Ethiopian Yalemzerf Yehualaw also stood on the podium.
Peres Jepchirchir celebrates in front of the finish line of the World Athletics Half-Marathon Championship hold in Gdynia, Poland on October 17. (picture from the official website of World Athletics)
“It’s unbelievable. My goal was to win this race. I did not expect that I would beat the world record, but I realized that it could happen when we passed 20km. It was a little bit windy, but the course was good for me”, claimed Jepchirchir.
This competition was scheduled to be played on March 29 but was moved to October due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the mass run accompanying the competition of professionals, to which over 27,000 people applied, was held virtually.
The next edition of the World Athletics Half-Marathon Championship will be held in Yangzhou, China. The competition is scheduled for March 2022.