✳Prize Money – World Championships
Doha, Qatar | THE INDEPENDENT | Former medalists Joshua Cheptegei and Stephen Kiprotich will lead a strong Ugandan team of 22 to the IAAF World Athletics Championships 2019 that start in Doha on Friday.
Kiprotich returns for his third World Athletics Championships marathon – an event at which he stormed to Gold in Moscow in 2013. This was a year after becoming the first Ugandan to win Olympic Gold since John Akii Bua, at London 2012.
Uganda’s best bet for a medal however is in 23-year-old Cheptegei who will this time focus on one race, unlike the two he aimed for at the last championships in London 2017.
Cheptegei has had a fine build up to the event, having been crowned World Cross Country champion early this year, which he followed up last month with victory in the 5,000m final of the Diamond League in Zurich.
The Ugandan ace came second behind legend Mo Farah in London in 2017 (video bottom), and will be the favourite for gold in the absence of the 36-year-old who has turned his attention to marathons.
Diamond League win
In the Diamond League in Zurich last month, Cheptegei made it look easy, speeding off from the start to beat the tape in a new personal best of 12.57.41 to win a Diamond Trophy at the $50,000 (Sh184 million) prize that goes along with it.
For the first time in the 10-year history of the Diamond League (DL), the finals took place before the World Championships, which means that all 16 DL events were serving as de facto World Championship previews before the real thing goes down in Doha.
Cheptegei said as much, saying his victory was the perfect warm-up for Doha.
“If I go fast, I go fast. On the last lap I thought that I can win the race. I was expecting to win. I believe in myself and this victory gives me even more confidence,” Cheptegei said.
“In Doha I will not compete in the 5k but the 10k. Winning the gold medal there would be special because I have never won a track gold at World Championships. I planned this race and I expected to win. I will train in the mountains of Uganda until Doha and the good thing is that my coach will be there, too.”
Eyes will also be on teenager Jacob Kiplimo, who came second behind Cheptegei at the World Cross Country.
Doha will be welcoming 205 countries and 3,500 athletes with approximately 10,000 international guests, 30,000 spectators from outside Qatar and more than 2,000 media personnel.
It will be the third biggest sporting event in the world, broadcast to more than 200 countries reaching out to more than 7 million viewers. In addition to that, the IAAF Congress Elections will take place in Doha.
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Ugandan team – Women (10)
Rachael Zena CHEBET
Linet Toroitich CHEBET
3000 Metres Steeplechase
Jacob KIPLIMO 1
Abdallah Kibet MANDE
3000 Metres Steeplechase
Boniface Abel SIKOWO