Joshua Cheptegei had a simple plan.

Sixteen months ago, beside the picturesque cross country course in Aarhus, Denmark, where he had just won his first senior world title, the then 22-year-old Ugandan laid out his strategy for world domination.

With his first global triumph secure, the next object of his desire was to succeed Mo Farah as the 10,000m title-holder at the World Championships in Doha.

And then?

“My ambition is to dominate the track for the next five or six years,” Cheptegei said.

The audacity was startling, but no more than the delivery has been since. So far it is happening as if it was ordained.

Just look at his last five races, which include three consecutive world records in a year of unparalleled achievement:

On 29 August, last year, he won the 5000m at the Diamond League final in Zurich.

On 6 October, he won the 10,000m at the World Championships in Doha.

On 1 December, he set a world 10km record of 26:38 in Valencia, Spain.

On 16 February, he set a world 5km record of 12:51 in Monaco.

On 14 August, he set a world 5000m record of 12:35.36 in Monaco.

Between February and August this year the world changed as the coronavirus pandemic took hold, but Cheptegei did not miss a beat.

He spent lockdown with his Dutch coach Addy Ruiter in his hometown of Kapchorwa, which sits at 1800m altitude in the rolling Uganda’s eastern region.

When he wasn’t training, he took on family and community duties.

“It was both good and bad,” he said. “It allowed me to spend more time with my family, but at the same time we are missing the sport so much.

“I did some gardening at my grandparents’ house. But mainly, I worked at my school in town. It’s a primary school, and I worked on some renovations there, like painting the walls.”

With relatively few cases of Covid-19 in Uganda, the lockdown was relaxed two months ago and Cheptegei returned to a more normal regime with his training partners.

“I honestly really missed competing,” he said. “It’s something I love doing, it’s in my blood.”

He targeted the Monaco meeting and made no secret of his desire to take down the great Kenenisa Bekele’s monumental 5000m world record of 12:37.35, set more than 16 years ago in Hengelo, Netherlands.

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