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Athletes in race for Rio Olympics slots

By James Bakama

Added 7th July 2016 09:37 AM

A total of 16 Ugandan athletes have so far hit the mark for the summer games

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A total of 16 Ugandan athletes have so far hit the mark for the summer games

National Athletics Open

It will be a last ditch effort at Olympic qualifi cation for many at the National Athletics Championship starting today.

With the qualification deadline for the Rio games just four days away, serious competition is expected in the two day meet.

A total of 16 Ugandan athletes have so far hit the mark for the August 5 to 21 summer games in the Brazilian city.

In an effort to boost numbers, Uganda Athletics Federation has arranged for pace setters to help more people qualify.

“We want a big team at the Olympics. So our target is to have more people qualifying at Namboole,” stated UAF president Domenic Otucet.

Janet Achola leads the list of runners close to qualification. She is just a second off the 4:07.00 Rio 1500 meters women mark.

Halima Nakaayi will be the woman to watch in the 800 meters. She is also close to the 2.01:50 time in the 800m.

For Rachael Chebet, failure to qualify will be a big blow. She was one of Uganda’s 5000 and 10000 favourites at the Africa Championship in Durban recently but paid dearly for a miscalculation.

She undercounted her laps, finishing with one lap left. That some of the competitors on her heels went on to qualify, suggests that she could have also hit the mark.

Shida Leni, Denis Opio, Lenard Opiny and Pius Adome will be the center of attraction in the 200 and 400m.

Ugandans within the Brazil standards are marathon runners Kiprotich, Solomon Mutai, Jackson Kiprop, Abraham Kiplimo, Robert Chemonges, Alex Chesakit and Moses Kipsiro.

UAF will tomorrow announce the best four of the above for the Brazil bound men’s marathon team.

Kiprotich is as of now the only assured person of a slot on Uganda’s men’s marathon.

This is by virtue of him not only having Uganda’s fastest time, but also being the defending champion.

Adero Nyakisi is the only Ugandan woman who has so far qualified for the marathon while Joshua Chepetegei is the country’s only runner to have hit the Rio mark in two events.

Other who have qualifi ed are Benjamin Kiplagat, Jacob Araptany and Peruth Chemutai (Steeplechase), Winnie Nanyondo (800m) Ronald Musagala (1500m), Philip Kipyeko and Joshua Cheptegei, Stella Chesang (5000m), Timothy Toroitich, Moses Kurong,Cheptegei and Juliet Chekwel (10000m).

Boxing: Flyweight Ronald Serugo, light heavyweight Kenneth Katende.

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