22-year-old Stanley Waithaka Mburu beat the odds and inspired an entire nation after clinching the silver medal in the men’s 10,000m final at the World Athletics Championships despite a fall in the first lap.
Stanley Mburu's powerful finish earns him global respect
Mburu recovered from a fall to win silver in 10,000m
Before the race started, no one gave Mburu a chance against the fastest 5,000m and 10,000m athlete Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda, his compatriot and fastest half-marathoner Jacob Kiplimo and Olympic champion Selemon Barega of Ethiopia.
Heading into the finals held on Sunday, July 17, Cheptegei must have been replaying the 10,000m final loss to Barega at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games.
In Tokyo, Cheptegei was in control of the race only to be outkicked by Barega in the final lap. It seems lessons were learned and a different strategy implemented by the Ugandan.
From the start, it was quite obvious the Ugandans were on a mission to claim a Gold and Silver. From the halfway point in 14:01.3, Cheptegei and Kiplimo would exchange places at the lead of the pack.
With two kilometres to go, 15 athletes were still in contention to win but that swiftly changed with two laps to go as seven athletes dropped off the pack.
At the bell Ethiopia's Berihu Aregawi, the 2021 Diamond League champion, held the lead but it was short-lived as Cheptegei hit the front with 300m to go, a move that cemented his place at the top of the podium.
Despite Cheptegei's dominance, the star of the day was Mburu, the 2018 world U20 silver medallist at 5000m. Despite a stumble in the opening lap, the 22-year-old managed to beat Kiplimo at the finish line at a time of 27:27.90.
Cheptegei's win at the Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon was reminiscent of his 2014 World Junior Championships, where the Ugandan beat Kenyan duo Elvis Kipchoge Cheboi and Nicholas Mboroto Kosimbei.