Police demonstrated their might by sweeping the top prizes in the women’s events last year.
PIC: Peruth Chemutai won the junior women’s title last year
Police Athletics Club return to the National Cross-country Championships on Saturday as the defending champions.
But also seriously eyeing the overall title at Jinja’s Central Division Recreation Park will be last year’s runners-up Prisons.
Police demonstrated their might by sweeping the top prizes in the women’s events last year. Peruth Chemutai won the junior women’s title, with fellow cops Janat Chemusto and Esther Chekwemoi following closely behind.
Mercyline Chelangat and Rachael Chebet easily destroyed the opposition in the senior women’s race as they took first and second position, respectively.
The focus will, however, be on 10,000 metre world championship silver medalist Joshua Cheptegei, who will be running for Kapchorwa. Cheptegei tore the opposition to shreds last year, winning by almost 100 metres at the national ceremonial grounds at Kololo.
Prisons' Phillip Kipyeko, who had surged into the lead at the starter’s gun, had to settle for second while Police's Abdallah Mande was third.
“We are taking this event very seriously,” Cheptegei’s coach, William Cheptoek, recently stressed.
Cheptegei has for months been seriously preparing at a high-altitude camp in Kapchorwa. His current form has been underlined with three international victories.
The person to beat in the junior men’s race will be world junior champion Jacob Kiplimo.
After comfortably winning the juniors title at Kololo, Kiplimo raised the bar even higher by winning Uganda’s first ever world cross-country title.
Uganda Athletics Federation publicity secretary Namayo Mawerere ruled out cases of a no-show by any of the big stars.
“They all confirmed attendance,” explained Mawerere, adding that athletes had started flocking the eastern town Friday.
Stiff competition is expected, considering that the competition will also be used to select Uganda’s team for the Africa Cross-country Championships in Algeria on March 17.
“We shall also use the event to gauge athletes’ preparedness for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games.”