I am not going anywhere, says athletics coach Ruiter

Nov 16, 2023

Regretting and dismissing the allegations at the same time, Ruiter says his work in Uganda is not done yet.

Coach Addy Ruiter has denied departure rumors. (Credit: Javier Silas Omagor)

Javier Silas Omagor
Journalist @New Vision

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Veteran athletics coach Addy Ruiter has dismissed claims that he is ending his role with the Ugandan athletes and departing the country.

"I want to be crystal clear on this: I am not going anywhere," says the Dutch tactician in the wake of speculation about his future in Uganda.

"I love this country, my Global Sports Communication (GSC) camp and athletes, and I am fully committed to leading these incredible athletes for some more seasons."

It all started from an anonymous source that claimed Ruiter — a personal trainer of the likes of world champions Joshua Cheptegei and Victor Kiplangat — had received an attractive offer from an unnamed international team and was to leave Uganda.

These claims spread fast, especially within the athletics fraternity.

At the time, the coach says he was back home in the Netherlands for a two-week stay.

Regretting and dismissing the allegations at the same time, Ruiter says his work in Uganda is not done yet.

"Sorry for the people telling different stories about that on social media.

“Our work here in Uganda is only beginning because we want to help this country produce as many elite athletes as possible besides Cheptegei and co.

“To do that, we [GSC - a Netherlands-based sports management company] need time to be able to mold talent through our humble camp in Kapchorwa and soon enough we plan to open another in Karamoja sub-region," says Ruiter.

'Our rock'

Ruiter has since returned to Uganda and he even attended the recent UNDP Elgon Half Marathon hosted in Mbale city, for which his trainee Cheptegei was a co-host.

He was present to primarily assess the performance of the young athletes taking part in the half marathon as well as scout for any prospective young talent. 

“Why would I want to leave Uganda when our our next big project is to find the next Cheptegeis, [Peruth] Chemutais, [Stephen] Kiprotichs, [Stephen] Kissa (Stephen), [Halimah] Nakaayis and Kiplangats?

"And that is not an easy assignment given the caliber of athletes we are talking about and their trophy cabinets," says Ruiter.

After setting the record straight, the local athletics fraternity have breathed a collective sigh of relief.

"We are relieved and thrilled that coach Ruiter is staying," says Kissa, who holds Uganda's national record in the marathon (2:04:48), which he set at the 2022 Hamburg Marathon in Germany.

"He has been our rock, and we look forward to more great seasons under his leadership and training programme."

Under Ruiter's guidance, Ugandan GSC athletes have enjoyed success on the global stage, including at the World Athletics Championships, Olympics Games and Commonwealth Games.

'More than a coach'

Sports state minister and Ngariam County MP Peter Ogwang has expressed continued confidence in the experienced trainer.

"Ruiter is more than a coach. He is a part of our Ugandan family," he says.

"We are delighted to have him back to Uganda from the Netherlands and excited about the prospects ahead."

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