By James Bakama
After being assured of funds to host the Africa Cross-country Championship, Uganda Athletics Federation can now embark on actual preparations.
President Yoweri Museveni on Friday promised to avail the $360,000 (sh936m) UAF requires to host the African meet in Kampala.
UAF boss Domenic Otuchet said an entry of 53 countries is expected in the event that will be staged at Kololo ceremonial grounds.
Otuchet explained that Kololo was chosen because it meets all international cross-country requirements.
These, Otuchet said, include a course that can have spectators, particularly those in the pavilion following competitors throughout a two kilometer loop.
Garuga, on the lake Victoria shores, which has undulating terrain would have been the other option. But it doesn’t meet the condition of having competitors visible throughout the course. Part of the loop is covered by trees.
Otuchet said the raised upper part of the Kololo ground will offer the climbing and descending section of the course.
Competitors will at no point also run on tarmac. Sections of the route with this material will be covered with soil or sand.
The course will be made more challenging with artificial barriers. UAF wants to ensure that the course matches the best cross-country courses.
The competition had a one off edition in 1985 in Nairobi, Kenya, and the medalists were mostly from the host nation.
After IAAF’s decision that the world cross country would change to a biennial format, the African athletics body stated that its 2011 Cross Country Championships would be held in South Africa, marking a relaunch of the competition.