By James Bakama
ALL Africa Games champion Annet Negesa is off Uganda’s team for the London Olympics.
A nagging Achilles tendon injury forced the 800 meter runner off the team barely a day before she could depart for London.
The announcement comes as a blow to Uganda’s medal hopes on the same day that Jacob Araptany pulled out of the 1,500m, opting to compete in only the 3,000m steeplechase.
She was supposed to have left this morning together with team-mates Dorcus Inzukuru, Moses Kipsiro, Abraham Kiplimo, Geoffrey Kusuro and coach Gordon Ahimbisibwe.
“It is true. She is off the team. It is indeed a blow but we had to look at the bigger picture before making a decision,” explained Uganda Athletics Federation secretary Beatrice Ayikoru.
Ayikoru explained that they had the options of letting her compete with the injury or having her treated prior to her race next week. Then, there was also the option of letting her rest until the injury is cured so that she is in shape for the next season.
“It is better for her if she takes a rest and only returns after the injury has completely healed,” added Ayikoru.
Citing examples of Kipsiro, who missed the 2011 World Championships in Daegu and Boniface Kiprop who had years earlier opted out of the World Cross-country because of injury, Ayikoru said it is better for athletes in such situations to rest.
Negesa’s coach Raphael Kasajja attributed injury to a hectic season. He revealed that Negesa started complaining about tendon pains after the Africa Cross-country Championship in March.
Negesa could not be got on phone. “She has decided to take a rest deep in her village in Iganga,” said Kasajja.
Seasoned sports doctor Ntege Ssengendo could not say how long the injury will take to heel. “There is need for a scan to first be made. If it is a torn tendon, then she will require an operation.”