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Monday,November 30,2020 02:40 AM

Relief for Africa as track events begin

By Vision Reporter

Added 14th August 2008 03:00 AM

FORMER world champion Dorcus Inzikuru is confident the Ugandan athletics team will return from Beijing with at least three medals. Inzzi, as she is fondly called by her fans, did not make it to the Olympic Games as she failed to recuperate in time to qualify for Beijing after giving birth to d

FORMER world champion Dorcus Inzikuru is confident the Ugandan athletics team will return from Beijing with at least three medals. Inzzi, as she is fondly called by her fans, did not make it to the Olympic Games as she failed to recuperate in time to qualify for Beijing after giving birth to d

Today, track and field
Medals to be won in Beijing:
47 out of 302
Today’s finals
Men’s shot-put final
4pm
Women’s 10,000m final
5.45pm
Tomorrow
3000m steeplechase heats
400m heats
Sunday
10000m final
Wednesday
800m Heats
5000m semis

By Loius Jadwong in Beijing

FORMER world champion Dorcus Inzikuru is confident the Ugandan athletics team will return from Beijing with at least three medals.

Inzzi, as she is fondly called by her fans, did not make it to the Olympic Games as she failed to recuperate in time to qualify for Beijing after giving birth to daughter Emmanuela in December last year.

“I have trained with those boys and I know how hard they work. This is their time to make a mark in the Olympics but they should train even harder now before their races,” Inzikuru said on phone from Kampala.

“Tell the athletes we are praying for them and I wish them the best. I am sure the whole team will do very well and make Uganda proud,” she added.

Commonwealth champion Boniface Kiprop, Uganda’s Sports Personality of the Year Moses Kipsiro and 800m wonderkid Abraham Chepkirwok will lead the medal hunt when the track and field, the blue-ribbon event of the Olympics, takes off today.

Among the first races scheduled will be the 3000m steeplechase where Inzikuru’s World Championship and Commonwealth Games pedigree would have assured Uganda of a medal.
Only four of the runners in the field today have run times better than Inzzi’s best time of 9:15.84.

The track and field events come as a relief for Africa after a less than impressive start, especially in the ring.
Uganda and Kenya’s entire boxing contingent was wiped out in two days of action at the Worker’s Gymnasium.

Uganda’s only medal hopes remain in the track and field and manager Dominic Otucet belives his runners are psychologically prepared to handle the pressure. Three members of the team of seven athletes are ranked in the world’s top 10.

“Kiprop, Kipsiro and Chepkirwok are used to the burden of carrying the country’s hopes,” Otucet said yesterday.

Kiprop salvaged Uganda’s pride at the All Africa Games in Algiers last year by snatching gold on the very last day of competition.

“The other advantage is they are here with coach Ricky Simms, who handles them on a daily basis. He even planned their arrival time so we are all expectant,” Otucet said.

Despite a rich history in athletics, Uganda has had a miserable record at the Olympics since John Akii-Bua stunned the world with a world record run on his way to winning gold in the Munich 1972 Olympics.

Only Davis Kamoga has got onto the medal rostrum — in 1996 in Atlanta — but the recent form of the “Gang of Three”, Kipsiro, Kiprop and Chepkirwok, suggests Uganda is due a podium finish. Finally.

Neighbours Kenya are equally optimistic of success on the track, with coach Julius Kirwa brashly stating that they expect no less than six gold medals from their runners, starting with the men’s 3000m steeplechase.

Relief for Africa as track events begin

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