Kampala, Uganda| THE INDEPENDENT & AFP | Joshua Cheptegei will lead a seasoned Ugandan team of 21 to the London World Athletics Championships next week.
Cheptegei may be one of the youngest on the team at 20, but all eyes will be on him to stretch the world’s best in his bid for a first medal at senior level. It is three years since Cheptegei was crowned the IAAF World Junior Championship in the 10000m.
Like at the Olympics where he finished 8th and 6th in the 5000m and 10000m finals, Cheptegei will again go for the double.
The London 2017 timetable is ideal for athletes seeking a long distance double, with the 10000m final set for the opening day, and the 5000m semifinal five days later. (see schedule page 2, CLICK)
Seasoned team even minus Kiprotich and Kipsiro
The Ugandan team of 13 men and 8 women named on Monday has several veterans of the last championships led by Solomon Mutai, 24, bronze medalist in the marathon in Beijing 2015.
Mutai will lead the marathon team after former marathon world champion Stephen Kiprotich and former WC bronze medalist Moses Kipsiro opted out of the London 2017 World Championships. They indicated their preparations had not gone to plan.
“As a federation we applaud their decision and maturity stand in that direction. The World Championships is the biggest athletics event that calls for serious and adequate preparations. They are spot on as role models for the rest of Ugandan athletes to emulate,” athletics federation publicity secretary Namayo Mawerere said.
The other athlete to watch will be Timothy Toroitich,25, in the 10000m. He has had a great cross country season and was Uganda’s best finisher at the Kampala World Championships where he finished 9th.
The surprise could come from sensation 800m runer Dorcus Ajok. She failed to make the Olympics last year after tumbling in the last 100m.
Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) registered a record 27 qualifiers for the World Championships but selected only 21 runners to represent the country.
London was the venue of Kiprotich’s most memorable moment, the marathon Olympic gold at the 2012 Olympics. Kiprotich’s last race was in April, when he put up his best showing in three years by finishing second at the Haspa Hamburg International Marathon.
Uganda will field men in the marathon, 800m, 5000m, 10000m, 3000m steeplechase and the 1500m. Women competitors are earmarked for the 10000m, 5000m, 3000mSC, 1500 and 800m.
Cheptegei to take on Farah again
Cheptegei, who collapsed spectacularly at the Kampala World Cross Country Championships that he led going into the final lap in March, has since recovered to make it to the final of the 5000m at the IAAF Diamond League final.
Cheptegei finished third in the 5000m early this month at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Lausanne, in an impressive personal best time of 12:59.83 to qualify for the 5000m Diamond League final in Zurich on August 24.
Last month, Cheptegei showed he is back on form with a 4th place, this time in the 3000m at the Paris Diamond Athletics League.
Cheptegei clocked 7:34.96 to finish fourth in a race won by Edris Muktar of Ethiopia in a personal best of 7:32.31.
UGANDA TEAM that departs for London on Monday July 31.
- Abu Mayanja – 800m
- Ronald Musagala – 1500m
- Jacob Araptany – 3000mSC
- Boniface Sikowo – 3000mSC
- Albert Chemutai – 3000mSC
- Stephen Kissa – 5000m
- Jacob Kiplimo – 5000m
- Joshua Cheptegei – 5000m/10000m
- Timothy Toroitich – 10,000m
- Solomon Mutai – Marathon
- Robert Chemonges – Marathon
- Chesakit Alex – Marathon
- Moses Martin Kurong – 10,000m
- Halima Nakaayi – 800m
- Winnie Nanyondo – 800m
- Dorcus Ajok – 800m
- Esther Chebet – 1500m
- Peruth Chemutai – 3000mSC
- Mercyline Chelangat – 5000m
- Stella Chesang – 5000m
- Juliet Chekwel – 10,000m
- Adero Nyakisi – Marathon (injured)
- Kiprop Jackson – Marathon
- Moses Kurong – 10,000m
- Sam Cherop – 10,000m
Team manger : Domenic Otuchet
Head Coach: Gordon Ahimbisibwe
Assistant coach Guiseppe Giambrone
Team Phisio: Veronica Sampieri
(The duo are part of the Tuscany camp and have been helping Team Uganda from the Beijing World Championships in 2015)