In Summary

Athletics. Accompanied by the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Janet Museveni, the President was elated when Jacob Kiplimo won the world junior Gold

KAMPALA.

It’s common knowledge that President Yoweri Museveni’s schedule only allows him to spend a few hours, or even minutes, at any given event or function.

Yesterday was different. President Museveni was more than a guest of honour at the 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championships at Kololo Independence Grounds.

He watched the biggest sports event Uganda has ever hosted in its entirety – arriving over an hour before flag off and staying until the curtain call.

Accompanied by the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Janet Museveni, the President was elated when Jacob Kiplimo won the world junior Gold.

Together, they embraced a sweat-drenched Kiplimo moments after the 16-year old clinched Uganda’s first ever first-place finish at this event.

However, the First Lady beat the President, soundly as she was a fan, no different from the tens of thousands that thronged Kololo on a warm Sunday afternoon. She often stood to cheer Ugandan athletes. Together, they watched all the five races junior (men and women), senior (men and women), and the mixed relay – hardly leaving their seats.

In fact, the only time President Museveni left his seat was during the second lap of the 10km men’s senior race which left everyone on the brink of ecstasy as Joshua Cheptegei led. Seated next to the President were International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) boss Lord Sebastian Coe and ministers Beti Kamya and Charles Bakkabulindi for Kampala and state for sports respectively.

In his opening remarks, the President spoke about the event opening doors to the world about Africa and the importance of sports as a marketing tool.

ikigongo@ug.nationmedia.com