MBALE – Uganda’s World Cross Country Championships national team athletes reigned during the Discovery 10km road race – staged in Kapchorwa, Uganda on Friday.
The race – a yardstick for identifying new talents in the region saw more than 300 athletes compete at the heart of Uganda’s athletics, Kapchorwa.
Doreen Chesang, who will be representing Uganda at the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia, ran a brilliant race from behind a pack of five athletes – surging forward in the last lap to win.
Chesang crossed the line in 32:56.38 ahead of another national team athlete Mercyline Chelangat who clocked 32:56.92 while Rebecca Cheptegei was third in 33:17.91.
Chesang said she was using the race to prepare for the global event which is about three weeks from now.
“I have been loading in my training and today I just wanted to do a tempo run as part of preparations for the World Cross Country Championships. I know it will be a tough race but I believe we shall be competing as a team. My target is to be in the podium,” said Chesang who trains in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County.
Dismas Yeko bagged victory in the men’s 10km senior race after timing 28:37.43 ahead of Leonard Chemutai who clocked 28:47.26 while Nelson Wakana sealed the podium positions in 28:51.03.
Yeko said he was glad to have won at home and the race will shape him for upcoming competitions this season.
“The race was good, I’m happy that my body reacted well and after surging forward, I managed to maintain my pace all the way to the finish line. My target this year is to make the national team for the World Championships to be held in August in Budapest, Hungary where I will be competing in the 5,000m race,” said Yeko.
In the 8km junior women, Scarlet Chebet won the race after timing 27:49.17 ahead of Fenesha Chekwemoi who clocked 28:04.12. Martha Chemutai settled for third place in 28:25.27.
Jacob Kiplimo, the race ambassador said the event had shown that there are talents in the grassroots which need to be tapped going forward.
“We have witnessed today how athletes are thirsty for running and we are glad because it will be an annual race going forward. We might have started late but the race will give an opportunity to the upcoming athletes to go and run globally,” said Kiplimo.
Joshua Cheptegei, who also watched the race, said that the sport is headed in the right direction.
Federico Rosa, who heads the Rosa Associati Camp in Kenya and Uganda, said that athletics in Uganda is slowly taking shape and they will work on developing more talents in conjunction with Uganda Athletics Federation.
“We wanted to start in 2020 but Covid-19 pandemic slowed us. We have started well and want to develop more talents because this will be an athletics powerhouse in the near future,” said Rosa.
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