What you need to know:
- He surely hopes to be back at the 19th Worlds in Hungarian capital Budapest next year but the next immediate assignment is the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in the UK.
In his eyes, sprinter Tarsis Orogot wanted to be in the men’s 200m final earlier this morning on his debut at the World Athletics Championships.
And not that making the semi-finals of the half-a-lap race wasn’t satisfactory, no. Orogot clocked 20.35 seconds in lane 1 but it was good enough for fifth place in Heat 2 at the Hayward Field on Tuesday evening.
“The race was good. It was a good learning experience, I was able to enjoy myself, and compete to the best I could,” he said during an interview in the mixed zone.
But being the teenage sensation he is, he naturally wanted more and understandably so. Orogot placed his arms on his head in disbelief as the main screen inside the stadium posted the race results.
The 2019 world champion Noah Lyles and fellow American Kenny Bednarek, who won the silver medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Japan last year, had finished first and second.
Lyles clocked 19.62 while Bednarek came through in 19.84 to automatically qualify for the final. It had been a fast Heat and the next two in Trinidad & Tobago’s Jereem Richards and South Africa’s Luxolo Adams also made the final as the next fastest two.
Regardless, Orogot is impressed with the journey. Almost a year ago, he came fourth in the 200m final at the World U20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya.
His exploits there earned him a scholarship with the University of Alabama here. The lad nicknamed ‘Gonya’ quickly adapted and broke his own national record to 20.32 seconds in fifth place during the NCAA Finals last month.
Making it to Oregon meant Orogot became Uganda’s first male sprinter at the Worlds since Davis Kamoga won 400m silver at the Athens 1997 edition.
Overall, he is just the sixth Ugandan man to run sprints in the championship’s history. And honestly, for a prodigy ranked 60th globally to beat Lyles or Bednarek, or even reach the race final, then that would have made global headlines.
“There is big room for improvement. These guys are just better than me in terms of experience. At one point, they were like me so I need to just keep growing.”
“My coach told me to just enjoy, ‘your time will come, and you’ll be a contender yes.’”
But now with coach Blaine Wiley who tutored 100m world champion American Fred Kerley, Orogot still trusts the process, one which has carried him this far in a very short spell.
I was in lane 1 which is not easy but to do 20.35 there means I would have done better in another. I need to work harder to get a better lane and sometimes, I have also been unlucky with the wind. So I just need to get it all together in one good race,” he added.
He surely hopes to be back at the 19th Worlds in Hungarian capital Budapest next year but the next immediate assignment is the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in the UK.