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Who is Uganda's greatest athlete of all time?

By James Bakama

Added 17th August 2020 11:44 AM

Could Cheptegei be the biggest name, or could it be his predecessors Stephen Kiprotich or John Akii-Bua?

Who is Uganda's greatest athlete of all time?

Akii Bua, Kiprotich and Cheptegei have brought honour, pride and joy to the country.

Could Cheptegei be the biggest name, or could it be his predecessors Stephen Kiprotich or John Akii-Bua?

The argument on who is the greatest Ugandan athlete has again come up.

This followed yet another stellar show by Joshua Cheptegei on Friday night when he broke the 5000m record.

Could Cheptegei be the biggest name, or could it be his predecessors Stephen Kiprotich or John Akii-Bua?

Akii-Bua not only won Uganda's first Olympic gold medal, but he also did it in style.

He shattered the 400m hurdles world record in a time of 47.82 seconds, thereby becoming the first man to run the low hurdles under 48 seconds.

To grasp the magnitude of Akii-Bua's feat, you only have to look at the times in Friday's low hurdles. Norwegian Warholm Karsten won the race in an impressive 41.10.

Capello Yasmani was second in 49.04, much slower than Akii-Bua's 47.82 despite the numerous advancements to sharpen performance over the past 48 years.

Kiprotich came into the spotlight in 2012 when he won Olympic gold in the marathon.

Coming 40 years after Akii-Bua's feat, Kiprotich's achievement gave the Uganda Prisons officer national hero status.

Kiprotich gained even more fame when he struck even more gold at the World Championships in Moscow the following year.

To date, Kiprotich is the only Ugandan with gold in both the Olympics and World championships,]

Cheptegei lacks an Olympic medal but has won virtually everything else.

He has four world titles. These include Cheptegei as the only Ugandan to have won world track titles as both a junior and senior.

He is also the only Ugandan to have won the senior men's World Cross-country title.

Cheptegei on Friday night also joined Akii-Bua in that exclusive club of world track record breakers.

But even more to all this, are Cheptegei's three other world records on the road. He holds the five, 10, and 15-kilometer world road records.

However, still missing in Cheptegei's collection is an Olympic medal.  The Olympics is regarded as the most prestigious sports event.

That's exactly why Akii-Bua and Kiprotich stand out as Ugandan legends.

But going by Cheptegei's current form there are all signs that it is just a matter of time before he also gets Olympic glory.

But even without that, he undoubtedly stands out as Uganda's most successful sports.

And at just 23, he has the world at his feet, more records should tumble.

And even if he never makes it to the Olympic podium, he will always stand out as Uganda's finest.

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