Uganda’s Olympic team has finally been confirmed. It will comprise six women and 15 men.
The athletics event will provide the bulk of the team, 17, which is the biggest track and field team since the previous record 13 at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Unlike four years ago when Stephen Kiprotich traveled to London as a mere participant, he this time heads to Rio as Uganda’s main medal hope.
Defending Olympics marathon champion Kiprotich leads a strong team of runners in the 42k.1m event, the 800m, 1500m, the 3000m steeplechase, 5000m and 10000m.
The track and field team was confirmed after a Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) technical meeting at the weekend, and according to the sport’s president Domenic Otuchet, focus now is on turning the talent they have seen into medals.
“I believe our athletes are maturing and we are no longer going to Olympics just to participate. I see three or four medals from this team, “ Otuchet said.
“Other than Kiprotich and Nyakesi who are in Iten Kenya, the rest of the team is now in high-altitude training in Bukwo. The first 14 athletes leave on August 7 and the marathoners on August 14, all a few days to their events,” he added.
Halima Nakaayi (800m) was the last athlete to qualify at last week’s national championships.
At the last games, Uganda returned with one medal, a historic gold for Kiprotich on the last day of the London Olympics. That was only the second gold Uganda has bagged at the Olympics and first since John Akii Bua’s 400m hurdles gold in the Munich games in 1972.
Only seven Ugandans have won medals at this level, boxers Leo Rwabogo (1968 and 1972), Eridad Mukwanga 1968 and John Mugabi 1980. Athletes Akii Bua 1972, Davis Kamoga 400m 1996 and Kiprotich 2012.
Women 6: Winnie Nanyondo (800m), Halima Nakaayi (800m) Stella Chesang (5,000m), Peruth Chemutai (3000mSC), Juliet Chekwel (10000m & 5000m) and Adero Nyakesi (marathon)
Men: Stephen Kiprotich, Solomon Munyo Mutai, Kiprop Jackson (marathon), Joshua Cheptgei (10000m and 5000m), Timothy Toroitich (10,000m), Phillip Kipyeko ( 5,000m), Ronald Musagala (1,500m), Jacob Araptany and Benjamin Kiplagat (3,000m SC), Jacob Kiplimo (5,000m), Moses Kurong (10000m).
Swimmers: Jamila Lunkuse, Joshua Ekirikubinza
Boxing: Flyweight Ronald Serugo, Light heavyweight Kennedy Katende
Videos after the last games: