Most of Uganda’s long-distance runners have made the World Cross-Country and the Doha World Championships priorities in 2019.
and Joshua Cheptegei
has spearheaded this. Now 18, Kiplimo recently crossed to the senior ranks following a stellar junior career.
At the junior stage, Kiplimo won a bronze and silver over the 10000m race at the World Junior Championships in 2016 and 2018.
In between, Kiplimo raised his CV back home when he stunned the field to win the junior men’s 8km race for Uganda’s first-ever individual gold at the World Cross-country Championships on March 26, 2017 at Kololo.
Since then, cross-country earns a lot of focus. Now Kiplimo is eyeing the senior men’s title when a big field graces the National Cross-country Championships at the Tororo Golf Course on Saturday.
The teenager has built momentum quite well for Tororo, where the best runners per event will represent Uganda at World Cross-country in Aarhus, Denmark on March 30.
At global IAAF World Cross Country Permit, Kiplimo won five of the nine races; picking victories in Spanish towns of Burgos, Soria, Alcobendas and Seville. He crossed to Portugal and also won in Albufeira on February 3.
In between, Kiplimo has ran the fastest time ever over a 10K event when he posted 26:41 minutes to win the San Silvestre Road Race in Valencia, Spain on New Year’s Eve.
Such potency is what is threatening defending champion Joshua Cheptegei. Cheptegei already lost his crown in Seville to his determined understudy.
But the 22-year-old has pride to savour if he retains the senior men’s 10km crown for a second time in a row.
Cheptegei signed out of 2018 in style by breaking the 15K world record at the Seven Hills Run in Netherlands back in November.
As Cheptegei and Kiplimo face-off, there will be more national stars vying to qualify for Aarhus.
Record six-time winner Moses Kipsiro, 2016 Africa Cross-country silver medallist Phillip Kipyeko and 2018 Africa bronze medallist Thomas Ayeko could be in the fray.
The stage is also serving as a warm-up ground for marathoners like Abraham Kiplimo. The 2014 Commonwealth bronze medallist has not raced competitively since the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, China.
On the women’s front, Stella Chesang produced two second-place finishes on the Permit in Spanish towns of Seville and Elgoibar.
And the Commonwealth 10000m champion Chesang is favourite for the senior women’s 10km title won by Mercyline Chelangat last year.
PAST NATIONAL CROSS-COUNTRY CHAMPIONS
2018: Joshua Cheptegei
2017: Joshua Cheptegei
2016: Phillip Kipyeko
2015: Phillip Kipyeko
2014: Moses Kipsiro
2013: Moses Kipsiro
HOW THEY FINISHED IN 2018
SENIOR MEN (10KM)
1 Joshua Cheptegei 29:02
2 Phillip Kipyeko 29:24
3 Abdallah Mande 29:40
SENIOR WOMEN (10KM)
1 Mercyline Chelangat 34:41
2 Rachael Chebet 35:16
3 Dorcus Ajok 35:46
JUNIOR MEN (8KM)
1 Jacob Kiplimo 23:25
2 Titus Kwemoi 23:53
3 Victor Kiplangat 23:54
JUNIOR WOMEN (6KM)
1 Peruth Chemutai 20:20
2 Janat Chemusto 20:39
3 Esther Chekwemoi 21:08
This writer is a scribe with Daily Monitor Newspaper, a sports presenter with Radio One FM 90 and a global broadcaster based in Kampala Uganda. Follow him on Twitter: @AllanDarren and his Facebook Page: Darren Allan Kyeyune
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