The Uganda Athletics Team to the World Athletics Half Marathon in Gdynia, Poland has been welcomed back to Uganda. The team presented its accolades at a press conference today at National Council of Sports Lugogo: Jacob Kiplimo won Gold in a Championship Record and National Record time of 58:49, while Joshua Cheptegei making his debut in the Half Marathon event set a Personal Best of 59:21 to finish 4th, Victor Stephen 16th and Stephen Kissa 19th, resulting in a Team Bronze for the Men’s team.

The women’s team finished fourth with Juliet Chekwel 14th setting a new Half Marathon National Record of 1:08.44, Doreen Chemutai finished 17th, Doreen Chesang 30th and Rachael Zena Chebet 57th.

Prior to this, Joshua Cheptegei set a 4th World Record in 10,000m is 26:11.0 at the NN Valencia World Record Day in Valencia, Spain.

The Government of Uganda through National Council of Sports provided full travel facilitation to the team to Poland.

While giving opening remarks at today’s press conference, the General Secretary, Dr. Patrick Ogwel reflected on statistical figures of government's contribution to Athletics, ‘For the last 4 years the government of Uganda has invested immensely in Athletics starting with the Ugx. 4.7Billion towards hosting the 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championships at Kololo, Kampala in addition to the Ugx. 3.7Billion to Uganda Athletics Federation for the period 2016/2017 to date and accordingly government’s value for money has been realized.

Dr. Ogwel added that in terms of infrastructure, government has prioritized in the Construction of the High Altitude Centre in Teryet and this will be carried out in 3 phases with the first phase nearing completion. Accordingly, NCS will offer all the necessary support to the Ministry of Education and Sports to furnish and equip the facility using the available resources to modern standard.

Dr. Donald Rukare, the Chairman of National Council of Sports pledged to establish a programme for athletes to pursue career paths in coaching to acquire necessary skills and knowledge as tools after retirement from active sports. In addition to establishment of a clear reward policy for the coaches and Technical officials.

‘Every country admires Uganda because of the resilience of its athletes.- You (Athletes) have shown that Uganda is a country of possibilities and next year, at the Olympics, we shall seek for more glory.‘ Remarked Joshua Cheptegei. He went on to thank the different individuals, sponsors and organizations who support the Athletes on their sporting journey. He specifically thanked his parents and those of his fellow athletes for instilling good morals that have resulted into humility.

In the same vain the Chef de Mission for Team Uganda to the Tokyo Olympics 2021, Mrs. Beatrice Ayikoru made a brief on the preparation for the Olympics and noted that Uganda has set a target of qualifying between 30 to 40 athletes and so far 24 athletes have qualified, with 19 athletes from Athletics, 3 from Paralympics.

Thursday, October 22, 2020