Going by the history, neighbours Kenya and Ethiopia will be the biggest threats to Uganda during the third Africa Cross-country Championships at Kololo tomorrow.
With keen concentration on the senior categories, six-time National Cross-country champion Moses Kipsiro will be Uganda’s biggest medal hope alongside National Half Marathon champion Daniel Rotich and Moses Kibet.
But the trio and company have huge stumbling blocks in Kenya’s Phillip Langat and Philemon Rono to beat in the 12km race. Langat won the Montferland Run and finished second at the Venloop Half Marathon all in Netherlands three years ago. Having finished a disappointing 36th at the World Cross-country Championships in Poland last year, Rono won the Odubu International Mountain Race in Nigeria last year.
Kipsiro’s strong cast of opponents also has Ethiopia’s Mesfin Hunengaw, who finished fourth in the 10000m at the 2008 World Junior Championships in Poland.
In the previous edition held at Keurboom Park in South Africa two years ago, Nancy Cheptegei and Juliet Chekwel aided Team Uganda to third position in the senior women’s category.
With home knowledge and support, the pair’s task to do better will not be lessened even with the absence of two-time champion Kenyan Emily Chebet. In that race, Kenya is fielding reigning Word Cross-country champion Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon. Although a new face at senior level, Kipyegon’s aggressive running style is likely to trouble the home girls.
Ethiopia’s Tadelech Bekele, who won the 2012 Ceski Budejovice Half-Marathon and 2011 Stranomilano Half-Marathon champion Ababel Eyeshanesh will also take part.
Kenya won all the gold medals at the previous two edition held in Nairobi (2012) and South Africa (2013).