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Kusuro under no illusions about Olympic task

By Vision Reporter

Added 1st August 2008 03:00 AM

NOTHING but determination has seen the shy Geoffrey Kusuro command national fame and it will be this resilience that will see him take on the world’s best in the 5000m.

NOTHING but determination has seen the shy Geoffrey Kusuro command national fame and it will be this resilience that will see him take on the world’s best in the 5000m.

By Norman Katende in Beijing China

Discipline:
Athletics 5000m Personal best: 13:18.38, Hengelo Highest achievement: World Mountain Road-Running gold medallist

NOTHING but determination has seen the shy Geoffrey Kusuro command national fame and it will be this resilience that will see him take on the world’s best in the 5000m.

“It is going to be tough. I will try my level best. I’m aware there are several athletes there better than me but I’m going to compete,” said the junior runner. Kusuro was not ready to let a dream he nurtured as a pupil at Mutuchet Primary School vanish meekly.

“I enjoyed running but I could not perform well. There were boys who could run faster. I ran but I failed. I kept on running and praying that one time, I will qualify. I was competing for a place on the school team for the 5000m and 10000m,” he says.

That elusive dream was later realized in 2002 when he was given a chance to run for the district (Kapchorwa) at the National Post-Primary Schools Championships and he finished fourth.
“That’s when I realized that my dream was now becoming a reality. I started thinking big. I now wanted to represent the nation.”

The impressive performance at the championships was not only notable for its athletics’ significance; it also helped Kusuro earn a place at Chesire Secondary School in Kapchorwa.

“It was a great boost; I really did not believe it. I tried to continue with my education and also race. I wanted to be the best.” It was with this resolve that he took part in the National Cross-Country Championships, finishing 23rd.

“I was scared throughout,” Kusuro conceded. “I had never been to such a big competition. I was even more determined to see that I perform better when I get another opportunity.”

The chance duly came at the National Track and Field Athletics Championships, where he was beaten by Moses Aliwa in the 5000m. “It inspired me even more. I trained hard to go to the Beijing World Junior Championships where I finished ninth overall,” he says.

Kusuro has also improved his world cross-country ranking from 49th to eighth position over the four occasions he has competed in the international event.

But he recognizes that given the prize at Beijing, he will have to compete more fiercely for he will have to contend with such accomplished runners as Kenya’s Edwin Soi and Eliud Kipchoge, fellow Ugandan Moses Kipsiro and Ethiopians Kenenisa and Tariku Bekele.

5000m drought
Uganda has never won an Olympic medal in the 5000m. She was represented by Muhammad Mustapha in 1968, when he finished 9th overall after clocking 15:10.2, and Dorcus Inzikuru in the last edition in 2004. She clocked 15:38.59 to finish 12th in the semis. Geoffrey Kusuro and Moses Kipsiro have both shone at the world stage before.

Kipsiro won silver at the World Athletics Championships in Osaka and gold at the All Africa Games, while Kusuro has won gold at the World Mountain Road-Running Championships. But the Olympics is a different proposition.

Kusuro under no illusions about Olympic task

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