Kibet determined to give Team Uganda the edge

KAMPALA.

With six national titles to his name, Moses Kipsiro is the pundits’ pick for a podium finish when Uganda hosts the third Africa Cross-country Championships at Kololo Airstrip this afternoon.

A three-time World Cross-country Championships medallist, Kipsiro should even start the senior men’s 12km as favourite for gold.

What will matter for many Ugandans at Kololo, though, is winning the team titles at the expense of the ever dominant Kenya and Ethiopia. And it’s in the 12km senior men’s category that head coach Gordon Ahimbisibwe expects Team Uganda to excel. “Unlike others, the senior men’s team is balanced,” Ahimbisibwe said training on Friday evening.“All the guys can match each other’s pace. I believe we’ll get a medal.” Besides National Half Marathon champion Daniel Rotich, that balance in the team has been ensured by the rejuvenated Moses Kibet.

A junior bronze medallist at the 2009 World Cross-country Championships, Kibet raised Ugandans’ hopes of a stellar career. But after competing at two World Athletics Championships (2009 and 2011), Kibet vanished off the scene.He fell from excellence to mediocrity, missing out on big championships in 2012 and 2013. But after finishing third at the National Cross-country Championships and second at the National Half Marathon, Kibet has rediscovered his old self. Today, the 23-year-old has a chance to prove that his comeback is for real. “Shape is something which is not permanent,” Kibet told Sunday Monitor on Friday. “I lost my shape because I wasn’t training properly,” he said. “Around 2010, I used to train in Eldoret and things did not go well. So I decided to return to Bukwo and I am now in better form.”

“We expect stiff competition but nobody is expecting a bad performance,” Kibet said, adding, “We have home aantage and must put it to good use on Sunday (today).”

Uganda has traditionally done well in the men’s junior races and national champion Phillip Kipyeko will be tasked to keep one of the medals home. Gates to the venue open at midday.

SOURCE: DAILY MONITOR

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