Rhonex Kipruto
Rhonex Kipruto Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: It’s amazing how success can sustain self-belief and confidence, especially in the world of sport. When Rhonex Kipruto set a world record in the 5km and then clocked a healthy time at the 10km road race in Prague, the Kenyan knew he was onto something bigger.

In the first half of January this year, the 20-year-old Kenyan set a time of 26:24 minutes while shaving off 14 seconds from the previous world 10km record of 26:38 set by Joshua Cheptegei in Valencia race in December 2019.

The young Kenyan reached the halfway point in 13:18 mins, still a mere four seconds inside the ratified world record of 13:22 set by Kenya’s Robert Keter in Lille on November 9, 2019. Despite running on his own for the second half, Kipruto increased his pace and covered the final five kilometres in 13:06 mins to achieve a childhood dream.

Kipruto, who won the UAE Healthy Kidney 10k held in Central Park, New York, on April 29, 2018, had quite a few performances to his name.

And late on Wednesday, his mark was ratified as the new world record for the 10km race by World Athletics.

“I’m over the moon,” Kipruto told media in Kenya after being informed about his new world record.

“When I clocked 26:46 mins in Prague in 2018, I set myself the target of breaking the world 10km record and today my dream has come true,” added the 10,000m bronze medallist from the 2019 IAAF Doha World Athletics Championships.

More than a month later in Monaco, on February 16 to be precise, Cheptegei clocked 12:51 over the first 5kms, but this is a mark that is still pending ratification.

Growing up in Kombatich, near Eldoret Town of Kenya’s Keiyo South Constituency, Kipruto’s parents are farmers. Several famous Kenyan runners come from the district, including Qatar’s 3000m steeplechase champion Saif Saeed Shaheen (born as Stephen Cherono), Vivian Cheruiyot and Lornah Kiplagat.

Also getting ratified was young Sasha Zhoya’s world indoor Under-20 60m hurdles record of 7.34 seconds.

Zhoya’s run in the 60m hurdles on February 22 was the highlight of the French U20 Championships in Miramas. The 17-year-old had threatened the mark in the earlier rounds, clocking 7.53s in the heats and 7.43s in the semi-finals, just 0.03s shy of the record set by USA’s Trey Cunningham in New York City on March 12, 2017.

But a little more than an hour later, Zhoya was back out on track and went even faster, winning in 7.34s.

A talented all-rounder, Zhoya also holds the world U18 bests for the 110m hurdles at 12.87 secs and in the pole vault with 5.56m. Last year he also scored 7,271 points in the decathlon and clocked a 100m personal best of 10.41s, both performances ranking him among the top-10 on the 2019 U18 lists.