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Twelve years on, Uganda still looking for a new steeplechase Inzzi

 

FILE PHOTO: The Arua Gazelle. Inzikuru celebrates her stunning win in the 2005 World Championships 3000m steeplechase final on August 8, 2005

Today

Men’s steeplechase final 11.10pm  – 🇺🇬 Jacob Araptany, Albert Chemutai

Tomorrow

Women’s steeplechase heats 9 pm – 🇺🇬  Peruth Chemutai

Men’s 5000m heats 10pm – 🇺🇬 Cheptegei, Kiplimo, Kissa

Kampala, Uganda | LOUIS JADWONG | Uganda has fielded an athlete in every 3000m steeplechase event at the World Championships since 2005, but the glory days remain firmly in the past.

On August 8 2005, Dorcus Inzikuru stunned the world with her victory in the 3000m steeplechase women’s final, ending a 33-year-wait for a global athletics title for Uganda. The national anthem had last been played at a world athletics event in 1972, legend John Akii-Bua having won gold in the 400m hurdles.

At the Helsinki World Championships, Inzzi as she was fondly called, run the sixth fastest time then of 9:18.24 to bag the 3000m steeplechase gold, and the coveted $60,000 top prize.

Her victory, like that of Akii-Bua, was supposed to have started a strong tradition in the high technique events that require running and jumping – hurdles and steeplechase – but again nothing came of it years later. Inzzi did however follow it up with a Commonwealth gold a year later.

Since then, Uganda has entered athletes in the steeplechase in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017, where for the first time, a woman returns. The best the Ugandans have been able to do is qualify for the finals.

Embed from Getty Images

Jacob Araptany, in his 3rd World Championships and debutant Albert Chemutai, are into today’s final but the fact that they only made it thus far as the fastest losers of the semis, indicates it could be yet another fruitless year for the men.

That leaves the burden of correcting our steelplechase record on the young shoulders of Peruth Chemutai. It has come 12 years later, but Chemutai has shown that with hard work, she can step into the big Inzzi shoes.

She bounced onto the world stage with a silver and bronze medal at the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa.

Chemutai, 18, was 7th in the 3000m steeplechase final of the World Under-20 Championships in Poland last year, after impressing in the heats. She then featured in the Olympics in Rio, only the second Ugandan women to compete at this level after Inzikuru in the 2005 Worlds and 2012 Olympics.

Early this year, Chemutai was 7th at the U-20 category of the World Cross country championships, where she was Uganda’s best peformer in that category.

Japan’s Anju Takamizawa (2R), Bahrain’s Ruth Jebet (3R), and Uganda’s Peruth Chemutai (2L) compete in the Women’s 3000m Steeplechase Round 1 during the athletics event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 13, 2016. AFP PHOTO

Ugandan athletes in  WC 3000m SC since 2005

2015 – Benjamin Kiplagat

2013 – Jacob Araptanym Benjamin Kiplagat, Tim Toroitich

2011 – Benjamin Kiplagat, Jacob Araptany, Simon Yeko

2009 – Simon Ayeko, Benjamin Kiplagat

2007 – Benjamin Kiplagat

2005 – Dorcus Inzikuru Uganda GOLD in 9:18.24 CR

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