By Norman Katende
MOSES Kipsiro and Linet Chebet, who upgraded from the junior category, will be leading Uganda’s search for medals at the 3rd edition of the Africa Cross Country championships that are set for March 16 at Kololo Ceremonial grounds. Over 20 countries have registered for the event.
The duo led their respective races in the final selections that took place over the weekend in Bukwo.
Kipsiro, Uganda’s top cross country runner in the senior men event with a silver medal in the 2009 World Cross Country meet in Amman Jordan will be leading other athletes among others Timothy Toroitich, who finished fourth in the Bydgoszcz, Poland world event, coming a position ahead of him together with Moses Kibet, junior men silver medallist in the Amman event in Uganda’s quest for winning a gold medal at home.
“We are having the top world runners from Ethiopia and Kenya coming here and we do not want to take any chances. We want to redeem ourselves by winning a medal at home,” said coach Benjamin Longiross, one of those handling the team in Bukwo.
Also Juliet Chekwel has made a return to the national team after proving herself in the three-week residential training and shining in the final selections that were held at Bukwo on Saturday evening.
The athlete neither took part in the National Cross Country championships that were held in Jinja nor the National Road Running Championships in Mbale but the technical committee advised that she be summoned to the training camp.
And Uganda’s top female performer at the World Cross Country championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, where she finished in 9th position last year did not disappoint as she managed to finish among the top runners.
She boosts a team that has national champion Linet Chebet and Rebecca Cheptegei as the two athletes that competed in the senior event last year while Nancy Cheptegei upgrades to the national team after finishing 12th in the international event.
“She is still improving and we expected her to even perform better,” said head of performance Abdallah Muhammed, who supervised the final selection.
Coach Benjamin Longiross and Gordon Ahimbisibwe are among the many that are in charge of preparing the athletes.
The final team:
Senior Men: Moses Kipsiro, Daniel Rotich, Moses Kibet, Isaac Ayeko, Thomas Ayeko, Ben Siwa, Peter Kibet and Timothy Toroitich (Senior men)
Senior Women: Juliet Chekwel, Linet Chebet, Rebecca Cheptegei, Nancy Cheptegei, Vanice Chemutai, Doreen Chesang and Winnie Nannyondo
Junior Men: Joshua Cheptegei, Alex Cherop, Mande Abdalla, Stephen Kissa, Felix Chemonges, Ben Samikwo Kipyeko and Isaac Kibet
Junior Girls: Stella Chesang, Patricia Chwekwemoi, Zena Chebet, Janet Chemusto, Karen Kwepkwemboi, Phanice Chemutai and Esther Chekwemoi.