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Uganda''s Kiplagat plots for Sunday’s gold

By Vision Reporter

Added 4th August 2012 01:41 AM

With Uganda’s chances of winning Olympic events this year in London passing for another day’s debate, what Benjamin Kiplagat can think of is to try and resurrect the country’s hopes for a first (medal) come Sunday.

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With Uganda’s chances of winning Olympic events this year in London passing for another day’s debate, what Benjamin Kiplagat can think of is to try and resurrect the country’s hopes for a first (medal) come Sunday.

By Joseph Kizza

TODAY

Women's 3000m steeplechase 1.35pm

Heat 1

Heat 2

Heat 3

Men's 10000m final 11.15pm

SUNDAY

1.00pm Women's marathon 

11.25pm Men's 3000m steeplechase final 

FRIDAY Results

Heat 1

Heat 2

Heat 3

With Uganda’s chances of winning Olympic events this year in London passing for another day’s debate, what Benjamin Kiplagat can think of is to try and resurrect the country’s hopes for a first (medal) come Sunday.

The 3000m Steeplechase athlete will have gold in his sights following Friday’s narrow qualification for the men’s final.

He clocked 8:18.44 for a sixth place finish in Heat 1 at the Olympic Stadium. His time beat that of seven other athletes to help him scramble for a place in the Sunday final.

Uganda’s chances of securing a first medal in London, for now, lies in the mind and body of man who is determined to build on his Africa Championships bronze medal. And that’s exactly what he has been training for.

Kiplagat’s qualification did not come easy though. It never is anyways for any athlete who is competing among the best of the best on such a global stage as the Olympics has to offer.

A trip in midair as he sprang over the steeple in the second-last lap should have inspired a skip of the heart pulse, but for the experienced Kiplagat, this was just another of those expected moments.

He did well to regain his footing after landing hard in the water, almost a fall – sprinted on. He knew he had to tagalong the rest of the front pack lest it was over for him.

The 23-year old long-distance runner did not let his ego down as he bundled up his spirit and raced for the finish line.

“I tried to push hard to qualify and it’s good that I have managed to do it. I will now plan for Sunday,” his determination was as clear as his energy.

Despite the brief mishap that could have led to his end if he had not handled it smartly, the young runner had started off the seven-and-a-half lap race well in the lead for the first five. He knew he was running alongside the best in the game.

France’s Mekhissi-Benabbad Mahiedine who crossed the finish line ahead of the whole pack with 8:16.23 won silver in Beijing four years ago.

And the likes of US’s Jager Evan, Kenya’s Mutai Abel Kiprop, Turkey’s Akdag Tarik Langat and Ethiopia’s Mesfin Nahom couldn’t spare any other better position but the sixth for Kiplagat.

If Kiplagat wins a medal in Sunday’s 3000m steeplechase men’s final, it will be Uganda’s first since Davis Kamoga stunned the world by snatching 400m bronze in Atlanta, USA in 1996.

***

London2012.com - Six gold medals will be decided on day two of athletics which also features the first appearance of Jamaican sprinters Usain BOLT and Yohan BLAKE (JAM) and two-time women's pole vault champion Yelena ISINBAYEVA (RUS) at the Olympic Stadium.

BOLT and BLAKE will take their marks in round one of the men's 100m at 12:30 after the event's preliminary round gets the day's action under way at 10:00.

Men's 20km walk

Jamaica and USA do battle on the track but it will be Russia versus China on the road where the men's 20km walk will be the first final of the day at 17:00 on The Mall.

Defending champion Valeriy BORCHIN (RUS) is favourite to add another Olympic gold to the world titles he won in 2009 and 2011 when he faces the Chinese pair WANG Zhen and CHEN Ding. Vladimir KANAYKIN (RUS) and Andrey KRIVOV (RUS) make up the strong Russian team.

Track finals

The first sprint title of the Games will be decided when world champion Carmelita JETER (USA) takes on defending Olympic champion Shelly-Ann FRASER-PRYCE (JAM), plus Veronica CAMPBELL-BROWN (JAM) and Allyson FELIX (USA). All were heat winners on Friday when JETER posted the fastest time of the round, 10.83 seconds, the fastest first round ever run at the Games. 

All should cruise through the semifinals at 19:35. Blessing OKAGBARE (NGR) will also expect to figure in the final at 21:55 after running a personal best of 10.93 in round one.

All eyes will be on Mo FARAH (GBR) in the stadium as the great hope of British distance running goes for gold in the men's 10,000m at 21:15. FARAH faces defending champion and world record holder Kenenisa BEKELE (ETH) in what promises to be thrilling duel.

BEKELE will have his younger brother Tariku for company while Kenyan hopes rest with Wilson KIPROP (KEN), the quickest man this year over 25 laps of the track.

Heptathlon

It's crunch time for another British hope as the heptathlon resumes with Jessica ENNIS (GBR) in first place after a dominating day one with 4,158 points, 184 ahead of her nearest rival.

ENNIS set two personal bests, including a national record 12.54 in the 100m hurdles.

Austra SKUJYTE (LTU) is second with 3974 while world champion Tatyana CHERNOVA (RUS) and Beijing 2008 champion Nataliya DOBRYNSKA (UKR), thought to be ENNIS's two most likely challengers, are a distant ninth and 10th place respectively after four of the seven events.

Field finals

Yarelys BARRIOS (CUB) heads the qualifiers for the women's discus final at 19:30 with favourites Sandra PERKOVIC (CRO) and Darya PISHCHALNIKOVA (RUS) also likely to feature after they went through automatically. Beijing champion Stephanie TRAFTON BROWN (USA) is also in the line-up.

The men's long jump will be without defending champion Irving SALADINO (PAN) after he failed to register a valid jump on Friday. Marcus Vinicius DA SILVA (BRA), the 2012 world indoor champion, and Marquise GOODWIN (USA) topped the qualifying competition with 8.11m. British pair Greg RUTHERFORD and Chris TOMLINSON (GBR) also made the final.

Qualifiers

The evening session features Javier CULSON (PUR) in the men's 400m hurdles semifinals. This year's fastest man was the quickest qualifier in Friday morning's opening heats, closely followed by 2007 and 2009 world champion Kerron CLEMENT (USA) and 2011 world champion Dai GREENE (GBR).

Another world champion from last summer, Amantle MONTSHO (BOT), was the fastest qualifier going into the women's 400m semifinals. Russia's world leader Antonina KRIVOSHAPKA (RUS) also looked comfortable in the first round on Friday.

ISINBAYEVA begins her quest for a third title at 10:20 while the morning session also includes men's 400m and women's 3000m steeplechase heats. 

Uganda''s Kiplagat plots for Sunday’s gold

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