Senior women ends years of agony with team bronze

Monday March 30 2015

The senior women team clinched bronze behind

The senior women team clinched bronze behind Kenya and Ethiopia. PHOTO BY GETTY IMAGES FOR IAAF 

By SANDE BASHAIJA

KAMPALA.

For many years, Uganda’s senior female cross-country runners have been treated unjustly.

In the World Cross-country Championships’ 42-year history, the Ugandan women have only participated in four editions. Before 2007 when they made their debut, the women were always left behind as their counterparts: senior men, junior women and junior men, travelled the world to represent Uganda.

Lack of enough finances was always cited by Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) as the major hindrance to the team’s participation.
There was also the excuse of having very few quality senior women runners much as the team can be composed of at least four.

In 2007, Mombasa hosted the event and a team of six, led by Dorcus Inzikuru, travelled by road to the Kenyan coastal town. Inzikuru and Dorcus Chesang fell victim to the sweltering heat in Mombasa and couldn’t last the 8km distance.

But Jane Suuto (26th), Catherine Webombesa (48), Farida Chelanga (78) and Emily Chebet (79) propelled Team Uganda to 12th position. The authorities didn’t find that impressive enough as the senior women were never fielded again until 2011.

The event in Punta Umbria, Spain saw Uganda rise to sixth position with Juliet Chekwel (22nd) leading the charge. Janet Achola (22nd), Viola Chemos (38th), Rebecca Cheptegei (56th) and Annet Negesa (66th) completed the Ugandan side.

Advertisement

Two years ago, the Ugandan women made their third appearance in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Chekwel improved by finishing 9th but the team came 10th. Achola (39), Cheptegei (68) and Chemos (72) were the back-up runners. On Saturday, Chekwel and the team reaped rewards of hard work as they clinched bronze and Shs34m in prize behind Kenya and winners Ethiopia.

Chekwel was 14th followed by Adero Nyakisi in 24th, Patricia Chepkwemoi 30th, Chebet 33rd while Cheptegei didn’t finish. Ethiopia won the team title with 17 points followed by Kenya on 19 while Uganda amassed 101, proving that there is still a big gulf between them and the other two giants.

SENIOR WOMEN PRIZES
Ethiopia – $20,000 (Shs58m)
Kenya – $16,000 (Shs46m)
Uganda – $12,000 (Shs34m)
SENIOR MEN PRIZES
Ethiopia – $20,000 (Shs58m)
Kenya – $16,000 (Shs46m)
Bahrain – $12,000 (Shs34m)
Eritrea – $10,000 (Shs29m)
Uganda – $8000 (Shs23m)

sbashaija@ug.nationmedia.com

Advertisement