Cheptegei: I’m Uganda’s greatest

Monday February 24 2020

Rewarded. State Minister for Sports, Hamson

Rewarded. State Minister for Sports, Hamson Denis Obua (L) hands over the Athlete of the Year Award to Joshua Cheptegei during the Uganda Athletics Federation awards dinner at Sheraton Hotel. Photo by Ismail Kezaala 

By DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE

Joshua Cheptegei hopes that the nation will concur that he is Uganda’s greatest athlete ever by the end of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan in August.

The long-distance runner opined so while accepting and retaining the Male Athlete of the Year accolade at the Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) Awards at Sheraton Hotel late on Friday night.

“I consider myself to be the greatest athlete in Ugandan history,” stated Cheptegei. “I am only looking for that Olympic medal to become the greatest of all time,” he told the media.

He was triggered to speak after the night’s emcee Andrew Kabuura asked the audience the country greatest athlete ever and 1996 Olympic 400m bronze Davis Kamoga gave legendary sprinter John Akii-Bua as the answer.

Running in lane 1, Akii-Bua stunned the crowd inside the Olympic Stadium in Munich to win the 400m hurdles Olympic gold in a world record (WR) time of 47.82 seconds on September 2, 1972.

“People still think that Akii-Bua is the greatest,” Cheptegei said, “I have broken all records but I am concentrating on 2020. I am only left to get the Olympic gold medal and that is my main focus,” added the man who began the year with a 5K world record at the Monaco Run in France on February 16.

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Cheptegei topped the night graced by Sports Minister Hamson Obua having won the World Cross-country title in Aarhus, Denmark, the 5000m title on the Diamond League as well as the 10000m title in a world lead time at the Doha World Championships in Qatar.

The 23-year-old also broke the two-mile national record (NR) and as well as the 10K WR in Valencia last year.

For her electric final 80m finish enroute to the world 800m crown in Doha, Nakaayi won the Female Athlete of the Year Award while Sarah Chelangat and Oscar Chelimo won the junior category honours, each worth Shs1m like Cheptegei’s.

On the night, each athlete who set a NR in 2019 received a certificate and Shs500,000.

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