Team Uganda confident of Bathurst mission despite visa hitches

Team Uganda being flagged off. PHOTO/DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE 

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Cheptegei and Kiplimo won gold and silver respectively ahead of Kenyan two-time champion Geoffrey Kamworor and the trio will be hoping to get better.

A determined Team Uganda will land in Australia with three different batches later tomorrow ahead of the 44th World Cross-country Championships on Saturday but shy of three runners.

Teenagers Feb Chelogoi, Allan Kibet, Sailas Rotich were meant to be part of the junior men’s team for the 8km race at Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst, New South Wales but they didn’t make the trip.

“They did not get visas,” Uganda Athletics Federation vice-president technical Benjamin Njia admitted before the team’s departure.

Rotich finished second at the 2022-2023 National Cross-country Championships back in December while Kibet and Chelogoi were fourth and fifth respectively in Tororo.

The blow leaves only the trio of Dan Kibet, Hosea Chemutai and national champion Kenneth Kiprop.

It further means that Uganda won’t be eligible to compete for the team medal here as it can’t raise the mandatory four competitors to score points. “If Chelogoi was here, a team medal would do,” Njia regretted.

Yet, the junior men’s race is the country’s most successful event in the championship history with eight team medals collected including a bronze spurred by Oscar Chelimo at the previous edition in Aarhus, Denmark four years ago.

The East African country toasted to its greatest performance at this biennial global championship in 2019 when the contingent won six medals across four different races.

Bar Chelimo who won junior bronze, Uganda’s other two individual medalists from Aarhus in Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo are entered for the Bathurst mission.

Cheptegei and Kiplimo won gold and silver respectively ahead of Kenyan two-time champion Geoffrey Kamworor and the trio will be hoping to get better.

“I am good and ready,” Kiplimo said after the team’s flag-off on Monday evening. He powered to the 10000m world bronze medal and then the Commonwealth double in England last year.

Kiplimo is the country’s best decorated Ugandan here in this championship with a 2017 individual junior gold in Kololo and senior team gold from 2019.

His counterpart Cheptegei who retained the 10000m world title last year is still fancied to defend his global title here, especially after recovering from injury with victory at the San Silvestre Vallecana 10K in Madrid, Spain on New Year’s Eve.

The duo are complemented by national champion Martin Kiprotich, the rising Rogers Kibet, Isaac Kibet and Samuel Kibet for the 10km event.

While Cheptegei had already travelled on Sunday, it was assistant captain Stella Chesang who picked the flag from National Council of Sports assistant general secretary David Katende.

National cross-country champion Chesang will lead the senior women’s group that comprises two-time world U20 5000m bronze medalist Prisca Chesang, Annet Chemengich and the reliable Mercyline Chelangat.

“We have been training well in the camp, everyone is fit and we are ready for the 18th,” a confident Chesang said. On her part, she returned strong from maternity last year and set new national records over 10km, 10000m and 21km last year.

Such gives the team optimism irrespective of the challenge set to be mounted by power houses Kenya and Ethiopia.

“We have never sent such a big team like we are sending today,” said Katende. “When you critically analyze, everybody is a winner. This time, we are in for a total sweep,” he added.

UAF president Dominic Otuchet spoke with similar verve. “We are flagging off a team which will return victorious, count on us,” he said.


Junior Women (6km): Risper Cherop, Peace Chebet, Charity Cherop, Bentalin Yeko, Felister Chekwemoi

Junior Men (8km): Dan Kibet, Hosea Chemutai, Kenneth Kiprop

Senior Women (10km): Prisca Chesang, Mercyline Chelangat, Stella Chesang, Annet Chemengich

Senior Men (10km): Joshua Cheptegei, Jacob Kiplimo, Rogers Kibet, Isaac Kibet, Samuel Kibet, Martin Kiprotich 

Mixed Relay Team (4 X 2km): Linda Chebet, Abu Mayanja, Knight Aciro, Ronald Musagala 

Officials: Quito Oding (Physio), Francis Demayi and Benjamin Njia (Coaches), Dominic Otuchet (Head of delegation)



2019 Aarhus: Joshua Cheptegei (Gold), Jacob Kiplimo (Silver)

2010 Bydgoszcz: Moses Kipsiro (Bronze)

2009 Amman: Moses Kipsiro (Silver)


2019 Aarhus: Oscar Chelimo (Bronze)

2017 Kololo: Jacob Kiplimo (Gold)

2009 Amman: Moses Kibet (Bronze)

2004 Brussels: Boniface Kiprop (Silver)

2003 Lausanne: Boniface Kiprop (Silver)

2002 Dublin: Boniface Kiprop (Bronze)


2019 Aarhus: Senior Men’s Gold, Senior Women’s Bronze, Junior Men’s Silver

2017 Kampala: Senior Men’s Bronze, Junior Women’s Bronze

2015 Guiyang: Senior Women’s Bronze

2011 Punta Umbria: Senior Men’s Bronze

2010 Bydgoszcz: Junior Men’s Bronze, Junior Women’s Bronze

2008 Edinburgh: Junior Men’s Bronze

2007 Mombasa: Senior Men’s Bronze

2004 Brussels: Junior Men’s Bronze

2003 Lausanne: Junior Men’s Bronze

2002 Dublin: Junior Men’s Bronze

2001 Ostend: Junior Men’s Bronze

2000 Vilamoura: Junior Men’s Bronze