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World Cross Country: Coaches fight over athletes

By James Bakama

Added 3rd March 2017 10:02 AM

The controversy revolves around the country’s mixed relays

Uganda’s World Cross Country preparations have been rocked by a clash over training methods.

The controversy revolves around the country’s mixed relays build-up for the March 26 event at Kololo.

The mixed relays- the latest inclusion on the world cross country programme, has each athlete running a two kilometer lap in a team of two men and two women.



While national coach Benjamin Longiros wants the relays side in Kapchorwa, Raphael Kasajja, who trains three of the athletes on the relay team thinks otherwise.

Uganda Wildlife Authority coach Kasajja says his runners Winnie Nanyondo, Ronald Musagala and Abu Mayanja are better off training from Namboole.

Standoff

The standoff almost had the trio dropped by Longiros. The athletes however beat Thursday’s deadline. They reported to Kapchorwa that night.

But Kasajja insists that he is not about to change his stand.

“They went to Kapchorwa just for the sake of reporting. I expect them back,” said Kasajja citing other responsibilities that require the athletes to be in Kampala.

Musagala, Mayanja and Nanyondo are UWA Rangers.

“They’ve been part of the world tourism week activities that conclude with a function at the UWA headquarters today that will be presided over by president Museveni,” explained Kasajja.

Different views

There is more to the clash.

While Longiros says the athletes’ presence in Kapchorwa is supposed to acquaint them to cross country running and also boost team-work, Kasajja has a different view.

“If Kapchorwa is better, then how come my team triumphed in the national selection?” wonders Kasajja.

Musagala won the men’s mixed relay while Mayanja was third. Nanyondo was second in the women’s race. Kasajja argues that teamwork is crucial in the longer races.

“It’s not important in the shorter relays where all that matters is an individual’s fitness in the 2km lap.”

Kasajja wants his runners to continue training at Namboole in Wakiso district.

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