DOHA. Even after Halimah Nakaayi’s 800m feat, Uganda’s business is not yet done at the IAAF World Athletics Championships here in the Qatari capital.
In the early hours of today, Uganda’s biggest medal hopeful Joshua Cheptegei and Abdallah Mande arrived for Sunday’s 10000m final in company of marathoners Fred Musobo, Stephen Kiprotich and Solomon Mutai arrived for Saturday night’s road show in Corniche.
But before those male long-distance runners close Uganda’s show here, the world will know more about Ronald Musagala when he lines-up for the men’s 1500m tonight.
An hour after arriving on Monday night, Musagala was bitter once realizing he had missed watching his training partner Nakaayi win the two-lap title.
“He was a little bit upset but he watched the race again on the internet and got over it,” his manager Jurrie van der Velden told this paper.
“It is understandable but he is now motivated. My medal is a big mental boost for him,” stated Nakaayi.
The sight of the 26-year-old as he left the athletes’ restaurant at Ezdan Hotel on Tuesday evening is one of a lad who looks to be in top shape.
“I am okay, no complaints,” with a few oranges and a banana in his hands, Musagala said with a smile, “I am ready,” added the 2018 Africa Senior Championships bronze medalist.
After Cheptegei, Musagala has been the latest revelation over the middle-distance event after running the third fastest time this year.
He clocked that national record (NR) time of three minutes and 30.58 seconds twice at the IAAF Diamond League (DL) Meets in Monaco and Paris.
This is his fourth straight appearance the Worlds but he has never made race a final. A raw Musagala stopped in the 800m semis at Moscow 2013, did not go past the Heats of 1500m in Beijing two years later and at London 2017, he only stopped in the semis.
Beginning tonight at the Khalifa International Stadium, Musagala will need to go through the preliminary Heats today, semifinals tomorrow before Sunday’s final.
He has had a stellar build-up with seven wins and no finish beyond fifth in 11 races in a season lit up by the victories at the Birmingham and Paris DL Meets.
“It is was difficult to get him onto the Diamond League which is kind of a closed circuit but when he got his chances, he nailed both of them,” said Jurrie.
“He has been growing in the season and knowing that Nakaayi and Winnie (Nanyondo) are doing the same training program, we are confident of what is coming,” the Dutchman stated.
World number three Musagala is right behind race favourite Kenyan Timothy Cheruiyot and one of the Norwegian Ingebristen brothers Jakob, the only pair to run faster than him this year with 3:28.77 and 3:30.16 times.
Cheruiyot won silver and while Jakob’s elder brother Filip took bronze behind champion Kenyan Elijah Manangoi in London two years ago.
All the three Ingebristen brothers including Henrik ran the 5000m final on Monday with the youngest, Jakob, who turned 19 last month, collapsing after missing a medal in fifth.
The Norwegians have been camping in Iten, Kenya with marathoner world record holder Eliud Kipchoge and are capable of surprises here.