Ronald Musagala returned home early today with the rest of Team Uganda as a much relieved man after winning his first career medal on the final day of the 21st Africa Senior Athletics Championships on Sunday.
With Uganda having several close shaves as action wrapped up, Musagala delivered a brave run to scoop the 1500m bronze at the Stephen Keshi Stadium.
“God does wonders,” delighted Musagala told Daily Monitor in the mixed zone after posting three minutes and 36.41 seconds.
“I have waited for long and the medal has come,” the smiling 25-year-old said before he was whisked away for a hurried medal ceremony.
Musagala came to the limelight at the 2013 National Championships in Namboole when he beat Moses Kipsiro over the 1500m race and later qualified for the 800m race to the Moscow World Championships.
Five years on, he has been to the Worlds in Beijing and London, Olympics in Rio and Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and Gold Coast but no medal. And that must have hit his mind hard when he entered the final 500m in fourth place behind Ethiopian Aman Wote. “I saw Wote and I knew I had to give my best or remain ordinary.” Musagala held off Wote in the last 60m stretch to take bronze as Kenyan Elijah Manangoi added Africa gold to his World and Commonwealth in 3:35.20. Another Kenyan Timothy Cheruiyot took silver.
He had run well thanks to vital support from compatriots Rashid Etiau and Geoffrey Rutto who finished 12th and 14th respectively in the 15-man field.
“Those guys really helped me,” Musagala credited his training partners. “I normally turn up for a final alone and I get overwhelmed. Here, Rashid made way for me with two laps to go but had it been another person, I would have been boxed out.”
“I am now looking forward to the IAAF Continental Cup in Czech Republic next month,” he added.