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Rogers Kibet warms up for Budapest

Rogers Kibet’s progress always motivates his coach Addy Ruiter. The teenage long-distance runner is looking to make a strong start in the seniors’ ranks this year after beginning well.

Kibet began 2023 by posting a time of 27 minutes and seven seconds in sixth place at the Valencia Ibercaja 10K in Spain at the weekend.

By dipping under 27:10 on Sunday, the time ensured that Kibet, 19, qualified for the World Athletics Championships set to be held in Budapest, Hungary in August.

“We organized this race for him because we knew that he was capable of running this time. I am very happy for him,” said Kibet’s coach Ruiter.

Kibet looks to be in form. Back in November, he won the famous Seven Hills Runs 15K in Nijmegen, Netherlands to add to his respectable third place finish at the Cardiff Cross Challenge in Wales back in October.

The teenager had also twice finished fifth in the 3000m and 5000m finals at the World U20 Championships in Cali, Colombia five months ago.

By qualifying for Budapest, Kibet stands a chance to be among four Ugandan men who will run the 10000m final at the National Athletics Centre. That’s considering that Joshua Cheptegei is the reigning champion and has a wild card entry.

“So there is a big chance that he will make his debut at the World Championships on senior level in his first year as a senior,” Ruiter stated.

Kibet however is pleased that he can now prepare for next month’s World Cross-country Championships set for Bathurst, Australia with confidence.

“He is a talented athlete and there is still a lot of room for improvement,” the Dutch tactician added.

Similarly in the women’s race, Sarah Chelangat beat the Budapest qualifying mark of 30:40 by 16 seconds with 30:24 in fourth place.

Then 2018 Commonwealth 10000m champion Stella Chesang, who won the National Cross-country Championships in Tororo early last month, was ninth in that race with 31:33.

Museveni gifts Victor Kiplangat car, gives athletes Shs300m

Victor Kiplangat who opened Uganda’s account in Birmingham by comfortably winning the men’s 42km marathon gold received a brand new Renault Koleos from Museveni at the end of the event.

Top sportsmen in the country are in a delightful mood after receiving about Shs300m in prize money for their 2022 stand-out performances from President Yoweri Museveni via a luncheon at State House Entebbe on Thursday.

Museveni majorly cherished the silverware from the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in England where the government facilitated a contingent of 72 athletes to return five medals.

“I congratulate those who won medals,” said Museveni. Uganda also won three medals from 17 athletes at the Oregon World Athletics Championships in the USA and nine medals from 42 competitors at the Islamic Solidarity Games in Konya, Turkey.

“I also congratulate those who participated even if they didn’t win anything,” Museveni noted. “What we are doing now is just jalibu (a sample),” said the man who often says he once played cricket and football back in his heyday.

Museveni however said that if he got homes out of moneyless-ness through the Parish Development Model, the results will trickle to this sub-sector. “You’ll see how that will impact sports,” he said, referring to children getting better nutrition to be able to compete.

Victor Kiplangat who opened Uganda’s account in Birmingham by comfortably winning the men’s 42km marathon gold received a brand new Renault Koleos from Museveni at the end of the event.

“I am humbled,” Kiplangat told this paper in front of the State House, moments after checking his new black car.

It’s also right to note that Kiplangat’s first-ever car came from the President. “I am very happy,” said the man who debuted with the 2021 Istanbul Marathon victory in Turkey.

“This is my first car; this is what I had wanted. At first, I saw we were not being told anything (about a meeting with the President) so I thought I was not going to get anything.

“But now, this car is going to help me a lot, especially going for training in Ngenge (in Kapchorwa) which is a very hilly place,” he added.

Kiplangat also pocketed Shs50m for the triumph but his brother Jacob Kiplimo scooped Shs100m for his 5000m and 10000m double victory at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham.

Kiplimo is the third Ugandan in history to achieve that double feat after Moses Kipsiro at the New Delhi 2010 Games in India and Joshua Cheptegei at the Gold Coast 2018 Games in Australia.

Steeplechase bronze medallist Peruth Chemutai got Shs20m while Teddy Nakimuli, who didn’t break sweat to reach the light flyweight medal bracket, got Shs20m too.

Kiplagat, Kiplimo rewarded after Commonwealth Games performances

Uganda Sports Press Association (Uspa) decided Victor Kiplangat’s Commonwealth Games marathon gold was too good to be ignored when they voted for the sports personalities of the months of January to August during their assembly on Monday at Imperial Royale Hotel.

Kiplangat ran to gold in 2 hours, 10 minutes and 55 microseconds but could have had the 10,000m World Champion Joshua Cheptegei for competition as best athlete for the month of July in the Uspa room had the house not decided to go for the 22 year old unanimously.

“We are not justifying ourselves but we just want to explain that Kiplangat’s gold, Uganda’s first marathon gold at the CWG, was something worth rewarding,” Uspa president Patrick Kanyomozi said.

Kanyomozi, who is also coming to the end of his second and final two-year term in office was put to task to release the electoral roadmap as soon as possible and also work faster with sponsors Nile Special on activating the Uspa Awards Gala, one where the previous year’s best athletes per sports discipline are rewarded.

The athletics dominance in our sports sector continued as Jacob Kiplimo’s 5,000m and 10,000m CWG double gold edged Husnah Kukundakwe’s six para-swimming medals at the Islamic Solidarity Games in Konya, Turkey for the August accolade.

Earlier Halimah Nakaayi had beaten fellow runner Mercyline Chelangat to the February award for her 800m indoor exploits in the France.

Kukundakwe did not bow out empty handed as her medals in the youth category of the World Para-Swimming Series in Italy earned her the March accolade.

Jacob Kiplimo hunts for speed

One probably ought to be hearing the name Jacob Kiplimo quite a lot now. After all, the Oregon World Championships at the Hayward Field in Oregon, USA come in just under three weeks.

But the Olympic 10000m bronze medallist has been low key. The 21-year-old has not raced since expectedly winning the 21km race at the Rak Half-Marathon in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE on February 15.

So tonight, Kiplimo will be up his first track race of the year when he lines-up in a field of 15 men for the 3000m race during the Stockholm Diamond League (DL) in Sweden.

“Yes, I am going there just to run well because this is my first race,” Kiplimo told this paper before flying out this week.

The Kween-based runner should have already had a race or two in his body though. But, he pulled out of the 5000m race days before the Eugene DL leg stage on May 29 because he wasn’t ready.

Then, after confirmation from Beppe Picotti, one of his Italian managers at Rosa Associati, Kiplimo was entered for the 5000m at the Paris DL leg in France set for June 18. He again pulled out because he was sick.

Better health

Tonight, he is feeling much better. “Yes, somehow,” Kiplimo replied about his status. He is intent on getting his speed act together before competing over the 10000m final at the Oregon Worlds on July 17.

And he can win the race at the Stockholm Olympic Stadium considering he has the fastest personal best over the 3000m, at 7:26.64 which is a national record and the ninth fastest time ever.

Before Kiplimo, Ronald Musagala who has recovered from a terrible muscle problem, will also fancy a podium when he goes for his third 1500m outdoor race of the year.

Now based at the Global Sports Communication camp in Nijmegen, Netherlands, Musagala warmed up by posting 3:38.31 to finish third at the Marseille Meeting in France on June 15.

“At least, I am not bad. I am doing well,” he said after a workout with his training partners Winnie Nanyondo and Halimah Nakaayi in Nijmegen.

Musagala won the 1500m race at the Akii-Bua Memorial in Namboole on June 4 with 3:42.91 but in Stockholm, the 2018 Africa Senior bronze medallist wants more.

“3:35, that’s my target,” Musagala added. And he is capable. His personal best of 3:30.58 is the quickest in the 15-man field.

Personal goals

Meanwhile, Nanyondo will hope to break the four-minute barrier over the 1500m while world 800m champion Nakaayi is intent on a season best time over the 800m.

She posted 1:58.68 for fourth place after arguably her best push over the final 100m during the Bislett Games in Norway on June 16.

“No plan from my side. Field is strong again with (Keely) Hodgkinson and (Mary) Moraa,” Nakaayi’s coach Addy Ruiter noted.

Briton Hodgkinson won at Bislett in 1:57.71, the fourth fastest time over the two-lap distance this year. Kenyan Moraa clocked 1:57.45 – third fastest time this year – to win the National Trials in Nairobi last weekend.

Racheal Chebet’s silver saves Uganda’s blushes

Racheal Zena Chebet ensured that Team Uganda will return from the Africa Senior Athletics Championships with silverware by winning 10000m silver on Saturday.

Chebet put up a spirited fight and endured the cold conditions at the Cote d’Or National Complex in Saint Pierre to finish second in a time of 32 minutes and 17.66 seconds after 25 laps.

“I’m very happy,” Chebet said via phone after landing her first senior medal.
The race was won by Kenyan Caroline Nyaga in a time of 32:12.61 with Ethiopian Meseret Gebre completing the podium in 32:25.97.

Three years ago, Chebet missed the podium by 23 seconds in fourth in the 10km race at the World Cross-country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark. So on Saturday, she was more determined.
“Since yesterday (Friday), I was so disturbed,” she said, “I saw other countries had medals and I was so worried about Uganda. I didn’t even sleep well.
“I wanted gold but I got that silver. It was windy and had been since morning. First laps, we were going slowly then the pace went up, I tried to push,” the Kenya-based runner added.

Joshua Cheptegei to identify and support athletes

In a bid to break barriers that deter athletes from fulfilling their potential in Sebei sub region, the World and Olympic champion Joshua Cheptegei, under the Joshua Cheptegei Foundation will seek to identify, nurture and groom talent at grass root level to further enhance and support talent in the region.

On March 12, at the Chemwania Sports Complex, the 25-year-old under the his foundation organised the first edition of track and field events in Kween District  which attracted athletes from Bukwo and Kapchorwa with a promise to support the top performers.

The athletes who were between the ages of 13 to 17 years participated in categories of including 100m,200m,400m,600m,1500m, 3000m and relays among others.  The event attracted over 400 athletes from over 15 clubs both national and local clubs namely, Joshua Cheptegei Athletics Club, Police, Global Sports and Tuku Africa.

In December, the foundation organised the annual Christmas Run which also attracted over 800 runners and winners walked away with scholarships to join Joshua Cheptegei Junior School.

Cheptegei says the major objective of this is to help under privileged talented athletes in the region to become world champions and also ensure continuity when he phases out.

“We thought of having an avenue where we can be able to nurture talent because we really want to have a new generation of sports men and champions who can be able to represent the nation when we phase out,” said Cheptegei.

Joshua Cheptegei receives Shs80m for Olympic heroics from NCS

The National Council of Sports (NCS) met its pledge of rewarding all athletes who excelled at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics on Tuesday.

For their gold medals in the 5000m and 3000m steeplechase, Joshua Cheptegei and Peruth Chemutai got Shs50m each, respectively.

Uganda Olympic gold and silver medalist Joshua Cheptegei (center) receives sh80m dummy cheques from the Minister of State for Sport Denis Obua (left) and the Chef De Mission Beatrice Ayikoru (right) for his perfomance at the Tokyo Olympics, at NCS, October 12, 2021. Photos by Michael Nsubuga

Cheptegei picked another Shs30m for the 10000m silver while Jacob Kiplimo received Shs20m for bronze in the same race.

Paralympian David Emong’s bronze in the 1500m T46 race got him Shs20m.

Uganda had a team of 25 at the Olympics and another four for the Paralympics. Each of these received another Shs1m in addition to their allowances which were paid in July.

“We made history but now hope that we break that history because we are now a powerhouse in sports,” sports minister Hamson Obua said.

“Sport is no longer a liability to the country. It is now a big asset. Life is journey. You won’t be an athlete forever.

“This is your time, your moment and you are lucky that we can also reward you. Some were not as lucky.

“From the little proceeds you are getting, save wisely. Save for the future,” Obua advised.

NCS General Secretary Dr Bernard Patrick Ogwel was pleased to meet this commitment.

“We prioritized rewarding athletes as one of the ways of promoting sports,” NCS General Secretary Dr Benard Patrick Ogwel told a media briefing at the Lugogo Sports Complex.

Upon their return from Japan, President Museveni hosted the team to a state luncheon where he gave Chemutai, Cheptegei and Kiplimo cars. He also promised to build their parents houses.

Reward and recognition scheme

In 2018, the agency paid out Shs100m for medals won at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast Australia but there’s no reward and recognition policy in place yet.

For his 5,000 and 10,000m double, Cheptegei pocketed Shs50m.  Stella Chesang received Shs20m for winning the 10,000m women’s race.

Solomon Mutai, who won silver in the marathon, earned Shs15m while Mercyline Chelangat and Juma Miiro got Shs7.5m each for bronze in the 10,000m and boxing respectively.

NCS also gave Emong Shs30m for his Gold at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships in London plus Shs20m for Silver at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

While the International Olympic Committee (IOC) does not pay prize money to medalists, many countries offer monetary rewards to their athletes for the number of medals they win at the Olympics.

Shs2.7b for Gold

At the Tokyo 2020 Games, Singapore is paying the most for medals. Any Gold is worth $737,000 (Shs2.7b), $369,000 (Shs1.3b) for Silver and bronze comes with $184,000 (Shs680m) in prize money.

The prize money is taxable and awardees are required to return a portion of it to their national sports associations for future training and development.

Singapore’s prize money is 20 times more than USA.

More than 600 US athletes competed at Tokyo 2020.

The US Olympic and Paralympic committee rewards athletes $37,500 (Shs138m) for every gold medal won, $22,500 (Shs83m) for silver and $15,000 (Shs55m) for bronze.

Most of the prize money is not taxable unless athletes report gross income that exceeds $1 million (Shs3.7b).

US athletes also receive other forms of support including health insurance, access to top-tier medical facilities and college tuition assistance for student athletes.

The sporting economy in the US allows athletes to better monetise their talents as most of it is driven by the private sector.

In countries such as Singapore, India and Uganda, many of the national sporting initiatives are driven by governments that sometimes use higher monetary rewards to encourage a growing sporting culture.

World Cross Country eases Cheptegei’s 2022 schedule

There is no doubt that Ugandan long-distance runner Joshua Cheptegei is an Olympic champion after claiming the 5000m gold at the Tokyo Games in Japan.

A week  earlier, he had taken silver in the 10000m final. Also, Cheptegei is the undisputed king of long-distance running having grabbed nearly every piece of silverware on offer in the last four years.

Cheptegei currently holds the 5km, 5000m and 10000m world records. He has the 5000m Olympic title, the 10000m world title, the Commonwealth double and the World Cross-country title. The man, who is building a training facility back home in Kapchorwa, would have started training for next season early in order to attempt defend his global cross-country title but now, his schedule will ease up a bit.

This is after World Athletics this week postponed the event by a year until 2023. The event was set to take place in Bathurst, Australia on February 19, 2022 but the prevailing Covid-19 situation means the event will wait for an extra year. The postponement is due to the biosecurity measures and travel restrictions currently in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Australia, according to a World Athletics statement.

Similarly, Australian borders are closed to international visitors, it further read. It means that more than 500 athletes from 60 countries will compete at the tough Mount Panorama course in Bathurst on February 18, 2023. For Cheptegei who won the senior men’s 10km title at the previous cross-country edition in Aarhus, Denmark in 2019, it means now he will solely prioritize defending his world title over the 25 laps when the Eugene World Athletics Championships come July 15-24 in USA. “Defending the 10000m title is my priority next year,” Cheptegei told Daily Monitor recently.

After Eugene, the next Worlds come held in Hungarian capital Budapest in 2023. Cheptegei may likely not compete in Birmingham to defend his double at the Commonwealth Games which come days after Eugene from July 28 – August 8. The championships are close because of postponements arising from the pandemic.

However, Cheptegei may opt to compete in the World Half-Marathon Championships set to take place in Yangzhou, China on March 27, 2022.

PRISCA CHESANG: The lady that won Uganda’s only medal in Nairobi

Prisca Chesang ensured Team Uganda did not leave the Kenyan capital empty-handed after she fought to secure 5000m bronze on the final day of the 18th World Athletics U20 Championships last week.

Lining-up in a 10-lady field with counterpart Scarlett Chebet, Chesang lived up to the medal-favourite tag billing and duly delivered a third-place finish in a time of 16 minutes and 21.78 seconds.

“I’m so happy,” said the 18-year-old, country’s revelation of the sport this year. This was Uganda’s 14th medal in championship history, also implying the country has won something at each of the last four editions stretching back to Oregon 2014.

Bidding to cover up for the 3000m medal miss after a painful fourth place last week, Chesang followed Ethiopian pairing of eventual winner Mizan Alem and Melknat Wudu with three laps left.

“In the 3000m, they left me with 600m to go but here, I had to fight,” the Uganda Wildlife Authority club runner said.

“Today, I still felt a bit of fatigue from the Tokyo Olympics and I had just one week to train for Nairobi.
“But I am happy to win this medal. I want to focus on next year; may be do cross-country, World Championships and Commonwealth Games.”

Chesanga is the fourth female runner to win for Uganda a medal at the junior championship after Peruth Chemutai (2018), Annet Negesa (2010) and Dorcus Inzikuru (2000).
Alem won gold in a time of 16:05.61 while Wudu took silver in 16:13.16. Chebet was 10th in 17:36.26.

Chesang’s medal however needed an extra hour to be confirmed after the race. She had been disqualified alongside Wudu, allegedly for having stepped out of the line during action.

Team Uganda appealed and together with the Ethiopian officials, the decision was rescinded.