Despite a financial pinch, Uganda’s star athletes have already entered their training camp under coach Benjamin Longiross as Kampala gears up to host the 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championship.
Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) named a tentative 49-man team which entered camp on November 4 with female athletes at Arua Athletics club camp in Kapkoros while males camp at Standard High in Amanang.
The final team will be picked from the National Cross-country on January 14 in Kololo.
Bereaved Stephen Kiprotich, the 2012 Olympic marathon gold medal winner is one of the key athletes that Uganda is banking on to win medals.
Kiprotich, who finished a distant 16th at the 2016 Rio Olympics, has never run in a Cross Country event.
“We are confident the team we have named is good enough and will be trimmed after trials,” Otuchet said on Wednesday.
Head coach Benjamin Longiross said he wants to show the world that it also has some of the best athletes.
Each of the participating countries is expected to field six runners per event. The Championship will feature the men and women’s senior’s event and the junior boys and girls events.
Joshua Cheptegai who captained Uganda at the Rio Olympics together with Philip Kipyeko and women runners Stella Chesang and Juliet Chekwel are part of Uganda’s team that is training.
Dominic Otuchet, president of the Uganda Athletics Federation said Wednesday that the event that will attract over 800 athletes in senior and junior categories will cost the country over two million U.S. dollars
“We are going to make sure all the hotels for the athletes and officials together with the running course and issues of security are all handled perfectly,” Otuchet said.
Charles Bakkabulindi, minister of state for sports said, “We are aware that a lot of money is still needed, but we shall work hand in hand with other supporters to make sure all moves on smoothly.”
Road works and renovations of hotels in the city have already started ahead of the March 26 event.