Cheptegei stirs rage for rejecting Arabs cash

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Joshua Cheptegei

There is anger on social media directed towards Ugandan long-distance runner, Joshua Cheptegei, for reportedly rejecting billions offered to him by Arabs.

According to reports, Cheptegei was approached by Arab tycoons from a rich gulf state in 2015 who asked him to change citizenship.

The world athletics silver medallist was reportedly offered Shs1.79bn which he turned down.

While some Kenyans now run under Bahrain [a small Arab monarchy in the Persian Gulf] and other countries, Cheptegei wanted to share glory with his motherland.

At the start of this month, Rose Chelimo, a Bahraini who switched allegiance from her Kenyan homeland, sprinted away from her former compatriot, Edna Kiplagat, to win the women’s marathon at the World Athletics Championships.

Cheptegei, on the other hand, won a Silver medal in the 10,000m men’s race at the IAAF World Championships 2017 in London and dedicated it to President Yoweri Museveni.

Cheptegei came second at 26:49.94 behind Sir Mo Farah of Great Britain who won the race with a record time of 26:49.51 and earned himself a $30,000 (Shs108m) prize.

Cheptegei competed in the 10,000 metres at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing finishing ninth.

He ran at the 2016 Summer Olympics in the 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres, finishing eight and sixth, respectively.

Ugandans, however, are not impressed by the fact that he rejected billions of cash to switch to Arabian countries.

“A rich Arab country wanted me to run for them with an offer of sh1.79b, but I treasure my country. I have always wanted to make my country proud, so I rejected the money,” Cheptegei said on social media, attracting insults and sneers from social media users.

The runner was warned about the possibility of him dying poor. He was also labelled stupid for failing to learn a thing or two from the lives of the Great John Akibua, Dorcus Inzikuru and Stephen Kiprotich, among others.

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