By Javier Silas Omagor
The first batch of team Uganda flies to Oregon, USA for World Athletics Championships, on Tuesday (July 13) aiming at a heavier medal haul than ever before.
At Trinity Biblical Institute, Kapchorwa where the national camp is being held, the spirits are high among the zealous athletes, from the junior athletes to the bigwigs.
The experienced coaches who were selected to manage the national team by Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) are as well in cloud nine.
“For the two weeks we have been here, our athletes have demonstrated top level fitness, commitment, focus and discipline like never before,” Coach Peter Chelangat told Kampala Sun in an exclusive interview.
Addy Ruiter who coaches Joshua Cheptegei and Peruth Chemutai himself is hopeful the duo alongside teammates will make the nation proud again.
“They are in a much better position than they were when they won Olympic medals last year.
“Let us pray that the weather in the US favors them more than it will do to their opponents,” the Dutchman hoped.
It should be remembered that during last year’s Olympics, Uganda clinched three medals; gold twice and one bronze, medals.
In sports, getting into a competition as a defending champion or favorite comes with a certain degree of pressure and Ruiter is pretty much aware of this fact.
“The truth is Joshua (Cheptegei) and most of our national athletes are used to pressure and they will handle it well.
“Their rivals are obviously training as well as possible and that is why we are making sure that our own programme is top notch and above the rest,” Ruiter stated.
Benjamin Njia the UAF Vice President is also optimistic that team Uganda is ready to hit the ground running, owing to perfect preparations in place.
“I am not saying that we are going to win medals in any race but what we are expecting is much better performances overall than ever before,” Njia said.
Njia who doubles as one of the national coaches continued: “We won’t start the competitions as favorites, but we believe in our qualities individually and collectively.”
The tacticians have spoken and hopefully, the team will respond at the right moment to relive the memories of the past glory days and materialize the expectations of every Ugandan.
On Monday (July 11), President Yoweri Museveni flagged off the national team in a ceremony that took place at Kololo Independence Grounds.
On Tuesday, July 12, the team left Uganda for Oregon with the first athlete, Winnie Nanyondo slated to take action on Friday 15.