Confidence is his number one attribute. In training, competition and off the track, Phillip Kipyeko is always composed.
Although still 19, the long distance runner, has ensured his place among the country’s top stars.
And ahead of Sunday’s Africa Cross-country Championships, Kipyeko, is undoubtedly a huge medal prospect. “I love him for his confidence,” coach Ronnie Kasirye commented while watching Kipyeko and the rest of the Ugandan team training at Kololo Airstrip yesterday morning.
“I am sure, he’ll be among the top contenders in the race.”
Kipyeko won the National Cross-country Championships 8km junior race in Jinja last month in commanding fashion. Although he has been nursing a knee injury, confidence has not eluded him.
“This knee has been giving me lots of trouble,” Kipyeko told Daily Monitor after the training session. “But I now feel better. So I will put it off my mind and compete like I am very fine. I want to win a medal at home.
I think I can even take the gold,” added Kipyeko, who finished 24th at the World Cross-country Championships in Punta Umbria, Spain in 2011. With Kipyeko in the junior race will be Mande Abdallah, Alex Cherop, Stephen Kissa, Felix Chemonges, Ben Simikwo and Isaac Kibet.
Although the junior side has some exciting runners, head coach Gordon Ahimbisimbwe has huge expectations in the senior men’s team.
“The senior team is well balanced,” Ahimbisibwe, a UPDF officer, said. “Am confident they will fight for the team gold medal.
Meanwhile, spectators will now pay less to watch Sunday’s events starting at midday after President Museveni offered to subsidise ticket prices. Ticket prices had been fixed at Shs30,000 and Shs10,000. But after the President’s offer, tickets will go for Shs5,000 and Shs10,000 respectively. More than 25 countries are expected to feature in the event.
Spectators will now be charged Shs5,000 and Shs10,000 to access Kololo Airstrip instead of Shs10,000 and Shs30,000.