Oscar Chelimo and Yohanes Chiappinelli join On

5,000m World Championship bronze medalist Oscar Chelimo is the latest star to wear the On logo in the future. The supremely talented 21-year-old Ugandan had his big breakthrough at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene in 2022, where he defied the odds with a stellar performance and beat a classy field to the bronze medal. 

Athletic success runs in the family, as Chelimo’s older brother is Olympic bronze medal-decorated Jacob Kilplimo. Still, success didn’t come easy for Chelimo, who finished last in the Tokyo 2020 5,000m final and worked hard with his Italian coach Giuseppe Giambrone to make the changes that led to the turning point in his career.

“I was a very young gun when I had the opportunity to follow Giuseppe to Tuscany in 2017. I was training at home in Uganda, came to Italy to gain experience in small competitions, then went home again to train in altitude. Giuseppe supported me on a daily basis from the very beginning, from organizing transportation to the training camp to finding the right club or the right representative for me”, Chelimo said. “We are looking forward to seeing what the future might bring. My dream is bright: I want to become World and Olympic champion in my favorite distance, 5000m. I am very happy that the On family is supporting me in this. And yes, I love my new spikes!”

Alongside Chelimo, Italian runner and steeplechaser Yohanes Chiappinelli joins the team. Born in Ethiopia and orphaned, Chiappinelli was adopted by an Italian couple from Siena at age 7. After trying out basketball and swimming, he began with athletics in 2008 and won his first national junior title in 2014. His biggest success to date is the bronze medal at the European Championships in Berlin in 2018. The 25-year-old also had strong showings in cross-country races. He closed the competition year 2022 with a 7th rank at the European Cross Country Championships in his native Italy. 

For the 2023 season, Chiappinelli’s focus has shifted to marathon racing. He made his debut at the Sevilla marathon in February and finished in a time of 2:09:46, which is the second-fastest debut of an Italian athlete ever.

“I am hounored to join the On team. It is really something rewarding, and I am happy to be able to compete in top-class gear. My 2023 dream is to compete in the marathon race at the World Championships in Budapest. If that won’t be possible, I’ll focus on marathon training and run fast in autumn,” Chiappinelli said.

Tuscany Camp as base

What both athletes have in common is that they are currently based at Tuscany Camp, an elite training center where young talents and established runners can train and grow together. 

“When Tuscany Camp was born in 2014, I was a part of it. Then my life led me elsewhere, but when it came to putting my focus on marathon running, the choice to join Giuseppe and Tuscany Camp felt natural and smooth”, Chiappinelli said.  “The cooperation and communication with coach Giuseppe are excellent. I love this group’s philosophy, and I feel like in a family with the girls and guys I live and train with. I am convinced this project will result in a true spectacle on the international stage, and it’s something purely coming out of Giuseppe’s passion for athletics.”

The idea for Tuscany Camp was born in 2014 when Giambrone left to follow his passion in Africa. Impressed with the concept of the prestigious Bukwo Training Camp in Uganda, which has given birth to numerous champions, he returned to Italy with the intention of setting up such a camp in his home country. Driven by his vision for a European base for world-class athletes, he went looking for sponsors and partners that helped him renovate an 18th-century villa in Tuscany and transform it into an elite training center for runners.

“Our camp is a familiar and quiet environment, where everyone helps each other and is focused on a common target: running fast. It’s made easier by being fully immersed in a beautiful place at the heart of historical Tuscany”, says Giuseppe Giambrone, Tuscany Camp founder, and head coach.“Tuscany Camp is my life’s dream come true, but above all, it also allows my athletes to go after their dreams. I see Yohanes setting milestones in Italian marathon running history and Oscar becoming an icon of worldwide athletics.”

Located in the Alta Val di Merse Nature Reserve, close to Siena in Italy, Tuscany Camp is surrounded by nature and offers a multitude of different running options on asphalt, dirt, and grass, flat and hilly routes with variable slopes, immersed in the woods. Tuscany Camp athletes can make use of two gyms, a swimming pool with a water treadmill and motor for running and swimming against the current, an environmental room for running in controlled humid heat conditions, a sauna, a physiotherapy machine, and a cryotherapy tank. Comfortable accommodations, kitchens, and leisure facilities are also at their disposal. In walking distance, athletes have access to a medical center where 50 medical professionals and physiotherapists ensure the best possible assistance.

In a cooperation that started in 2021, On provides top-class gear for the athletes and further supports the camp monetarily so that young athletes can live at Tuscany Camp for free. The best athletes coming out of the camp pipeline receive individual On contracts, much like Chiappinelli and Chelimo.

“On is supporting Tuscany Camp because it is a top-class facility that is open to all athletes. Giuseppe has done incredible work in connecting to the African runners’ community and helping the most promising ones to train in optimal conditions. Oscar Chelimo and his bronze medal at the World Championships in Eugene is a brilliant example of this work paying off,” said On Athlete Partnership Manager Niklas Bühner.

Like his counterparts in the OAC and OAC Europe teams, Dathan Ritzenhein and Thomas Dreissigacker, Giambrone is an On coach who looks after his own group of athletes in Tuscany Camp. Currently, 21 athletes from Uganda, Burundi, Tunisia, Rwanda and Italy live and train at the camp. In a holistic approach, the athletes are integrated into the Italian social fabric and supported in managing their professional lives. In Uganda, the supported partner camp “Kapchorwa” hosts an average of 10 young athletes who, if their talent allows it, will join Tuscany Camp in the future.

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