Kiprotich crowned 2012’s best, shifts focus to Moscow mission

Kiprotich shows off his award shortly after being crowned the 2012 Nile Special-Uspa sports personality of the year. PHOTO BY Eddie Chicco

What you need to know:

All sport. Marathoner returns to his training base with sights on the World Athletics Championships.

Stephen Kiprotich on Saturday night clinched the 2012 Nile Special-Uspa Sports Personality of the Year award and declared: “I want to keep winning.”

The London Olympics marathon winner predictably beat national rally champion Jas Mangat and professional boxer Joseph Lubega to the coveted award given out by sports journalists. While his fans and other guests at Imperial Royale Hotel were busy celebrating, Kiprotich had one thing on mind - training. He had no time to celebrate. He left Kampala yesterday morning and returned to his training base in Eldoret, Kenya.

He resumes training this morning in preparation for an assault on the World Championships due August in Moscow, Russia. It’s the biggest event on the athletics calendar this year.

“I have to follow my training programme strictly,” the 23-year-old runner revealed. “I hate it when I miss training. When I came to Kampala on Friday I did some running but I have missed a few days because of the travelling.”

Apart from Davis Kamoga, no other Ugandan athlete has won a medal at the Olympics and World Championships. Kiprotich wants to join that exclusive class. But he knows it won’t be easy.

“Of course, my biggest target this year is the World Championships in Moscow. And I know if I train very well I can win a medal,” he said. “But I am sure I have to work harder than ever before. Everyone will be coming
for me in whichever race I enter this season.”

Before heading to the Russian capital, Kiprotich will compete in a buildup race next month and feature in one of the major marathons.
“I am yet to know which, but I will either compete in the Boston Marathon or London Marathon,” Kiprotich said during the glamorous gala at which all excelling sportsmen for 2012 were recognised.

The Uspa award came a day after he had won the Athlete of Year award. “It feels great to be given such awards,” he said. “It’s a sign that Ugandans were impressed with what I did last season. And I don’t want to disappoint them, I want to continue winning.”

At the gala, only retired boxer Ayub Kalule came close to receiving an applause like Kiprotich’s. The 1974 World Amateur welterweight champion received the Nile Special-Uspa Legendary award.
His walk from the podium was very long as everyone wanted to shake his hands and take a picture with him.

Meanwhile, the national motocross team, which wrestled the East African MX Championship title from Kenya, beat Express FC (football), Rwenzori Warriors (cricket) and Rugby Cranes to the Team of the Year award.