By James Bakama
Ugandan athletes have missed out on a great opportunity to test themselves ahead of next month’s World Cross Country Championships.
The East Africa Cross Country that would have this (Saturday) morning had Uganda gauging itself against giants Ethiopia and Kenya was on Tuesday called off.
Athletes will now solely rely on a high altitude camp in Bukwo District to sharpen up for the world meet due in Poland on March 28.
The regional competition that was due to be staged in Jinja’s Mayors Gardens was called off because of Kenya’s general elections. The polls are scheduled for Monday.
Uganda Athletics Federation publicist Namayo Mawerere said the cancellation followed the withdrawal of Kenya and Tanzania.
“This left only Uganda and Ethiopia in contention which rendered the event inadmissible in IAAF regulations. The world athletics body requires a minimum of three participating countries,” explained Mawerere.
UAF has consequently summoned a squad of 22 runners to immediately enter residential camp in Bukwo for the world meet. UAF had earmarked the regional meet as the final event to select its team for the world meet.
Long distance coaches Nalis Bigingo and Benjamin Longiros are in charge of the team.
Bigingo said everyone is expected in camp by the weekend. He noted that going by the performance in Jinja two weeks ago, most of the squad is doing well in endurance.
“What’s crucial now, is to not only maintain this endurance, but also build on speed. There will therefore be a lot of speed-work.”
Uganda has over the past decade emerged as a major force in the world cross-country though gold medals have remained elusive. Ethiopia and Kenya remain the top two nations.
Nancy Cheptegei (UPDF)
Phanice Chemutai (Elgon)
Stella Chesang (Alpha)
Racheal Chebet (Alpha)
Esther Chekwemboi (Elgon)
Michael Cherop (Police)
Moses Kurong (Police)
Alex Cherop (Police)
Mande Abdalla (Police)
Phillip Kipyeko (Standard)
Viola Chemos (Arua)
Juliet Chekwel (UPDF)
Linet Chebet (Arua)
Adero Nyakisi (Prisons)
Dorcus Inzikuru (Arua)
Moses Kipsiro (Elgon)
Philip Kiplimo (Prisons)
Fred Arapsudi (Police)
Soyekwo Kibet (Standard)
Geoffrey Kusuro (Arua)
Timothy Toroitich (Elgon)