Uganda’s marathon dilemma

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IAAF World Athletics Championships

Dates: August 4-13
Venue: London

Uganda Athletics Federation has the small matter of deciding the three best marathon runners who will represent Uganda at the IAAF World Athletics Championships.

To date, 22 Ugandans have qualified for the Worlds, including five marathon runners led by 2012 Olympics and 2013 world champion Stephen Kiprotich who is on the tentative entry list for Uganda. Given that each country is allowed a maximum of three entries per event, it is only a matter of days if not hours before UAF cuts the tentative team to make the perfect fit for Uganda’s final entry to the August 4-13 Worlds.

While the rest of the events have no more than three qualifiers, Kiprotich is one of five Ugandan marathon runners to have hit the qualifying mark; the others being Robert Chemonges, Solomon Mutai, Jackson Kiprop and Alex Chesakit.

Two weeks ago UAF president Domenec Otuchet appeared to prepare the athletes for a soft landing when he stressed that a decision must be taken on which three to make team.

He said: “There are no two ways about it. We have to choose the best three to make the team.” 

Going by this season’s performances, Kiprotich has run the fastest marathon among the five qualifiers. His season best of 2:07:31, registered at the Hamburg marathon on April 23, is second to none. Solomon Mutai, whose current world ranking puts him at number 40, comes second with a season and personal best of 2:09:59 in Japan last March.

Robert Chemonges has his season best at 2:10:32 from Dusseldorf on April 30. It was also a new personal best for him. Alex Chesakit’s season best which also turns out to be his personal best (2:14:11) was registered at Castellon, Spain in February this year. 

At 30 years of age, Jackson Kiprop the oldest of the five, has his season best at 2:14:48 while his personal best (2:09:32) came four years ago in Mumbai, India. 

The final team list is expected to be announced after the national track and field championships which conclude Thursday.  

Qualified athletes

Women

Halima Nakaayi, Winnie Nanyondo, Dorcus Ajok (800m)

Esther Chebet (1500m)

Peruth Chemutai (steeplechase)

Stella Chesang, Mercyline Chelangat (5000m)

Mercyline Chelangat, Juliet Chekwel (10,000m)

Adero Nyakisi (marathon)

Men

Ronald Musagala (1500m)

Jacob Kiplimo, Stephen Kissa (5000m)

Joshua Cheptegei (5000m and 10,000m)

Timothy Toroitich, Moses Kurong (10000m)

Jacob Araptany, Albert Sikowo (steeplechase)

Stephen Kiprotich, Robert Chemonges, Solomon Mutai, Jackson Kiprop, Alex Chesakit (marathon).

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