Uganda dominates World Mountain Running stage

Rebecca Cheptegei, 2022 World Mountain Running Championships Up and Down Champion. PHOTO/COURTSEY 

What you need to know:

Kibet's feat is a mirror of Geofrey Kusuro’s triumph at the 2009 World Mountain Running Championships in Italy. Now 33, Kusuro yesterday came 10th at the Istanbul Marathon in Turkey.


Team Uganda continued its dominance over the high terrain by scooping seven individual medals over the up and downhill races of the inaugural World Mountain & Trail Running Championships in Chiang Mai, Thailand at the weekend.

On Sunday, the 13-athlete team under the guise of coaches Paul Okello, Anne Edatu and Godfrey Opio were stellar with Rebecca Cheptegei and Samuel Kibet winning the long 11.2km course.

“I am very happy,” who posted a winning time of 40 minutes and two seconds. “I was very confident,” the 21-year-old noted after crossing the black tape with the Uganda flag in his hands.

His feat is a mirror of Geofrey Kusuro’s triumph at the 2009 World Mountain Running Championships in Italy. Now 33, Kusuro yesterday came 10th at the Istanbul marathon in Turkey.

Like Kusuro, Phillip Kiplimo (2013), Isaac Kiprop (2014), Fred Musobo (2015), Victor Kiplangat (2017) and Robert Chemonges (2018) all won the same crown.

The triumph in the largest city in northern Thailand was witnessed by sports minister Peter Ogwang, National Council of Sports chairman Ambrose Tashobya and general secretary Dr Patrick Ogwel.

At an altitude of 475 metres above sea level, Kibet led Uganda 1-3-4-5 with experienced Timothy Toroitich taking the bronze medal after losing battle for second to Kenyan Patrick Kipngeno.

Kipngeno posted 40:12, 14 seconds ahead of Toroitich. “This is the first time for me to run this race. We worked together as a team, it was enjoyable,” said the man whose first championship medal was a 10000m bronze at the 2018 Africa Senior Athletics Championships in Asaba, Nigeria.

Meanwhile, Cheptegei posted 46:25 to the women’s title and she led Uganda 1-2 with Annet Chelangat Chemengich grabbing the silver in 46:52.

“I think it was God’s will for us to win today,” stated Cheptegei. The other Ugandan female to win a global mountain running title was Stella Chesang in 2015. “Last year, I was in Switzerland but I tried to climb the hill but it was difficult. I thank God for all,” Cheptegei added.

“I am representing the country for the first time so I am so grateful,” Chemengich reacted.

And in the junior men’s race of 6.4km course at an altitude 224m and above sea level, Leonard Chemutai scooped the gold in a time of 21:07.

Chemutai, who finished fourth in 1500m final at the World U20 Championships in Cali, Colombia, led a Ugandan 1-2-3-4 podium sweep with Caleb Arap Musobo (21:44), Denis Kiplangat (22:18) and Silas Rotich (23:01) following in that order.

WORLD MOUNTAIN & TRAIL RUNNING CHAMPIONSHIPS

UP & DOWNHILL RACE (11.2KM) - WOMEN

1 Rebecca Cheptegei (UGA)              46:25

2 Annet Chemengich (UGA)              46:52  

3 Allie McLaughlin (USA)                 48:31

DNF Rispa Cherop (UGA)                 DNF   

UP & DOWNHILL RACE (11.2KM) - MEN

1 Samuel Kibet (UGA)                       40:02  

2 Patrick Kipngeno (KEN)                 40:12  

3 Timothy Toroitich (UGA)                40:26  

4 Leonard Chemonges (UGA)           40:51  

5 Eliud Cherop (UGA)                       41:27  

JNR UP & DOWNHILL RACE (6.4KM) - MEN

1 Leonard Chemutai (UGA)               21:07  

2 Caleb Arap Musobo (UGA)            21:44  

3 Denis Kiplangat (UGA)                   22:18  

4 Silas Rotich (UGA)                         23:01

ISTANBUL MARATHON

MEN’S RESULT

1 Robert Kipkemboi (KEN) 2:10:18

2 Marius Kimutai (BRN) 2:10:27

3 Sila Kiptoo (KEN) 2:11:42

10 Geofrey Kusuro (UGA) 2:12:16

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