By James Bakama
Sunday, 2pm, Kololo
ETHIOPIA and Kenya are leaving nothing to chance in this weekend’s Africa Cross-country Championship.
The two giants have not only entered full teams but also seasoned runners in all senior and junior races.
Kenya, who have won all gold medals at all three editions of the biennial event, will be led by 2013 world cross-country silver medallist Leonard Barsoton.
He finished second at the Kenya National Cross-country last month.
The team also has Phillip Kiprono whose 27 minutes 28 seconds personal best in the 10000 meters makes him one of the people to watch.
Philemon Cherop is the other big name on the Kenya men’s team. Cherop surprised everyone when he won the Kenya cross-country last year only to finish 36 in the world meet.
The police officer also won the Obudu interational mountain race in Nigeria last year.
Ethiopia will be led by vastly experienced Mesfin Alemu.
He has twice competed as a junior at the world cross-country with fourth position as his best performance at this level. Alemu has thrice competed as a senior in the world meet with eighth position as his best performance.
Mukwano Group CEO Gadhoke hands over water to UAF offi cial Musherure (right) yesterday. Photo by Mpalanyi Ssentongo
His personal best of 27:27:57 in the 10000m is proof of a fast man.
Flying Ethiopia’s flag in women’s event will be Tadelech Bekele. Her vast experience in the half marathon will come handy when it comes to endurance.
Meanwhile, thirst shouldn’t be an issue on Sunday. Mukwano Industries through their Aqua Sipi brand have offered 200 cartons of mineral water for the event.
Chief Executive Tony Gadhoke underlined Mukwano’s support for sports citing their choice of Olympic and world championship champion Stephen Kiprotich as their brand ambassador.
Aqua Sipi has also been the official drink at UAF competitions. The brand has also supported boxer Hudson Muhumuza.
While receiving the water, UAF assistant General Secretary Apollo Musherura thanked Mukwano for their continued support. A total of 400 athletes from 32 countries will be in Uganda for the meet.