THE stand-out performance of Moses Kipsiro and Abraham Chepkirwok lifted them above their colleagues in the 2008 athletics season. Kipsiro, racing in the 3000m and 5000m and Chepkirwok in the 800m, enjoyed their most successful careers since taking to the track.
The performance gives the two promising athletes the perfect platform to step up gear for the 2009 season.
Elsewhere, Dorcus Inzikuru, a former world champion and reigning Commonwealth champion in 3000m steeplechase, waged a brave fight in her effort to return to action after delivering her first baby, Emmanuella Munguki in December 2007.
The 20-year-old Chepkirwok won the London Super Grand Prix and the Berlin Golden League meet and finished second in the Athens, Doha and Madrid Grand events.
The display put him among the top ranked 800m runners of the season.
On the other hand, the 22-year-old Kipsiro started the year by beating then World Cross-Country champion Zersanay Tadesse of Eritrea, won the Belfast Cross-Country and then finished among the top three in the Golden League meets.
Kipsiro and Chepkirwok ended the season by winning silver medals in the IAAF Athletics Final.
At the Olympic Games in Beijing which the two athletes entered as Uganda's main medal hopefuls, the outcome was different.
Kipsiro put up a spirited display in the final of the 5000m and at one stage looked destined for at least a bronze medal before he run out of steam to finish fourth overall. But the runner emerged as Uganda's best performer at the world's biggest sporting show after his colleagues fell out in early stages. Chepkirwok failed to advance to the 800m final at the event.
Kipsiro crowned the year by walking his fiancÃ©e, Emily Chebet down the aisle.
Chepkirwok said that his under performance in Beijing was as a result of a hectic period preceding the Games.
"I took part in so many races. Next year, I will become more selective so that I also try to win medals," he said shortly after dropping out in Beijing.
The twin performances of Kipsiro and Chepkirwok made up for the absence of perennial household names Boniface Kiprop and Alex Malinga.
Benjamin Kiplagat, Moses Kibet and Doreen Chesang also put up average performances in a year where sprinter Justine Bayigga realised her child's dream of being an Olympian.
Netherlands' Global Sports also came in as new managers for some of Uganda's athletes.
Gloom on home front
But all was not rosy back home.
The regional championships failed to have the desired impact it had last year as focus shifted mostly to the cash prizes other than developing talent.
"Yes, they (athletes from Kampala) invest in travelling for upcountry events but we do not gain as an association," Uganda Athletics Federation assistant secretary John Bosco Bananuka explained.
"They run for positions not to perform. I think we need to set standards for someone to win cash prizes."
Bananuka's comments were echoed by national coaches including renowned national Qatar coach Renato Canova.
"Uganda has athletes who can beat the world's best even with training times. The only problem is that they lack concentration. You give them a programme but after two weeks, they are already out of camp," he said.
Perhaps, we will have more concentration next year.
Kibet and Dickson Huru outwitted Kenyans to win gold and silver at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune India.
At the World Junior Championship, Benjamin Kiplagat, who was poised to win gold after taking a giant lead, burnt out to settle for silver in the 3000m steeplechase. Kiplagat paid the cost for ignoring the advice of his coach Jurrie Van der Velden.
MTN Kampala marathon
The MTN Kampala marathon continued to grow, this time attracting 15,700 runners.
Blunder of the year
Due to laxity of various officials, Justine Bayigga, got stranded at the team hotel after failing to get transport to competition venue.
She finally got their but her event was over, a situation that let her crestfallen.
Kipsiro toast of athletics season