By James Bakama
Africa Cross-country Championship (Sunday, 2pm)
COACHES Gordon Ahimbisibwe and Raphael Kasajja were smiling with satisfaction as the national cross-country team completed morning training at the Kololo Ceremonial Grounds yesterday.
“We are going for gold,” said Ahimbisibwe adding “the team is in superb form. They are focused and most important, there are no injuries.”
This optimism has been further boosted by what Kasajja describes as a “good and generally flat course that should further improve performance. Expect some very fast times.”
The mood can’t be better as Team Uganda, captained by multiple medalist Moses Kipsiro, seeks to break Kenya’s dominance in Africa’s top cross-country event.
Kipsiro as usual was reserved but teenager Phillip Kipyego summed up the mood in the camp “bring on Ethiopia and Kenya. We are ready for battle.”
The squad of 28 concluded three weeks of high altitude training in Bukwo on Wednesday.
They are currently staying at Imperial Royale Hotel.
Ahimbisibwe described the Bukwo training as very effective.
“We not only have loads of stamina, but we have also seriously worked on speed.”
Ethiopia and Kenya have always beaten Uganda on the big stage because of better speed in the final meters.
“That’s something we have addressed,” said a confident Ahimbisibwe, who is best remembered as the coach who was by Stephen Kiprotich’s side as he won gold at the 2012 London Olympics marathon.
Meanwhile Africa Athletics Confederation officials started arriving on Tuesday.
Teams also began arriving yesterday with Madagascar, Botswana, Comoros, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia and Gabon the first to jet in last evening.
Most of the teams will arrive today.
The only countries coming tomorrow will be Guinea, Cameroon and Nigeria.
By yesterday the Kololo course was being worked on. Faustino Kiwa, who is in charge of the course, said tartan will be laid today on a 186 meter stretch of concrete.