Chebures starts Uganda’s quest in Mauritius

Over the moon. Ali Chebures. PHOTO | ISMAIL KEZAALA

What you need to know:

  • The week-long event which commences this morning at the Cote d’Or National Sports Complex, will be preceded by the Oregon World Championships in the USA and then the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in the UK next month.

The schedule is getting tighter for Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF). On Sunday, a 20-odd group departed for Mauritius to partake in the Africa Senior Athletics Championships.

The week-long event which commences this morning at the Cote d’Or National Sports Complex, will be preceded by the Oregon World Championships in the USA and then the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in the UK next month.

A team of 17 athletes in Saint Pierre will be in a medal hunt, hoping to get momentum for the USA and UK trips.

“The target is medals, qualification for Commonwealth Games and World Championships, national records (NR) and personal bests (PBs) for athletes and solidarity with Confederation of Africa Athletics,” team manager Mohammed Abdallah told this paper.

Long-distance runner Ali Chebures has a chance to become Uganda’s first medallist when he turns for the 10000m final this afternoon.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority club runner surprised the nation by winning the senior men’s 10km title at the National Cross-country Championships in Tororo before winning the National Half-Marathon Championships in Jinja a fortnight later.

Devoid of company, Chebures will face a test from the familiar foes of Ethiopia and Kenya. He however has a chance to emulate Timothy Toroitich who won Uganda’s first medal - 10000m bronze - on Day One of the recent edition of the Africa Seniors in Asaba, Nigeria in 2018.

Toroitich’s medal was the first for Uganda at the Games since Porto Novo 2012 edition in Benin. Ronald Musagala and Josephine Lalam also won bronze medals over the 1500m and javelin in Asaba.

In Saint Pierre, sprinter Jacent Nyamahunge is first in action in the women’s 100m Heats, and she has a big target.

“I want to win a medal and also use this championship as a steppingstone to the World Championships,” she said.

During the third National Trials on April 2, Nyamahunge had returned from the ASA Athletics Grand Prix 1 and 2 in South Africa and she posted 23.38 seconds to win the 200m.

That marked the fastest time ever over the 200m on home soil but despite beating Shida Leni’s mark of Leni’s 23.43 set on July 26, 2019, it wasn’t ratified as a national record because of unacceptable wind speed of +2.5m/s.

It is such moments that build Nyamahunge’s confidence. Eight other runners will be in action today including Benson Okot and Pius Adome in the 100m Heats.

Team captain Leni will then turn up in the 400m Heats, hoping to also beat the qualification standard of 51.35 to the Oregon Worlds.

The quartet of Nyamahunge, Leni, Adoli and Chanwengo complete the day with the 4x400m mixed relay.

Leni won a 4x400m relay bronze at the African Games in Rabat, Morocco three years ago.

AFRICA SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

UGANDANS IN ACTION - WEDNESDAY

TEAM UGANDA SCHEDULE

MORNING

9:30am: Jacent Nyamahunge (100m Heats)

10am: Benson Okot & Pius Adome (100m Heats)

10:30am: Shida Leni (400m Heats)

10:55am: Heron Adoli and Godfrey Chanwengo (400m Heats)

AFTERNOON

4:55pm: Ali Chebures (10000m Final)

5:25pm: Tom Dradriga & Emmanuel Osuje (800m Heats)

5:50pm: Women’s 100m Semi-finals

6:15pm: Men’s 100m Semi-finals

6:35pm: Knight Aciru & Janat Chemusto (1500m Heats)

7:15pm: 7:15pm: Nyamahunge, Leni, Adoli, Chanwengo (4x400m Mixed Relay)


CAST OF UGANDA’S MEDALS AT AFRICA SENIORS

2018 Asaba: Timothy Toroitich (10000m bronze), Ronald Musagala (1500m Bronze), Josephine Lalam (Javelin Bronze)

2012 Porto Novo: Benjamin Kiplagat (Steeplechase bronze), Sarah Nambawa (Triple jump gold)

2010 Nairobi: Moses Kipsiro (10000m silver), Sarah Nambawa (Triple jump gold)

2006 Bambous: Moses Kipsiro (5000m bronze, 10000m gold)

2002 Rades/Tunis: Dorcus Inzikuru (5000m silver)

1998 Dakar: Davis Kamoga (400m silver)

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