After watching Ethiopia and Kenya dominate the mixed relay and junior women’s race, the silent local crowd needed to cheer up.The reason came from the little tipped Jacob Kiplimo, who tore the field apart like no other yesterday afternoon, to clock 22.40 for gold in the Junior Men’s 8km race.
Museveni leads dignitaries
Political and sports leaders were led by President Museveni, his wife Janet Museveni and IAAF president Lord Sebastian Coe plus Commonwealth Games Federation head Louise Martin.
A patient Museveni, who sat in this non-political crowd from a few minutes to 1pm till 6.30pm, took time off to congratulate the Ugandan team at the end for the junior women and senior men bronze medals on top of Kiplimo’s gold.
He kept with the leading pack for the first two laps of the senior men’s 10km race. Joshua Cheptegei then broke away for over two and half laps. The crowd at Kololo Independence Grounds was bouncing to his pace.
Then gold defender Geoffrey Kamworor came out of nowhere to take the lead with about 500m to finish. Cheptegei, Uganda’s biggest medal hopeful before yesterday, deflated spectacularly, literally walking to finish line in 30th place with a time of 30:07.
Mixed fortunes for world stars
Stephen Kiprotich, Cheptegei, Bahrain’s Ruth Jebet and namesake Agnes Tirop are some of the household names that failed to live up to the billing. But Kamworor defended the senior men’s gold, Asbel Kiprop guided Kenya to mixed relay gold at the expense of silver medalists Ethiopia and their disappointed star Genzebe Dibaba.
Kenya senior women
Kenya bagged a total seven medals but their senior women made their first ever clean sweep of medals and prize money in this race. Irene Cheptai, Alice Nawowuna and Lilian Rengeruk won gold, silver and bronze respectively. But they were joined by Hyvin Jepkemoi, Tirop and Faith Kipyegon for the other prize money positions; 4th to 6th.
There was a fear that Uganda did not market itself well ahead of yesterday’s world event. But that is a task we shall leave to economics and tourism experts to prove or disprove. In Kololo, though, a late decision to let in fans and school children for free even in the VIP section, and give them free Uganda flags. Former World and Commonwealth steeplechase champion Dorcus Inzikuru tried to cheer up the VIPs while Ndere Troupes provided the entertainment.