Eastern Africa Varsity Games: Makerere’s Otim Wins Gold Medal Gold in 1500m

Makerere University middle distance runner, Emmanuel Otim scooped a gold medal in the men’s 1500m race at Bombo military Barracks playground on Tuesday in the ongoing Eastern Africa University Games.

The athletics, which were scheduled to begin on Monday, December 19th, 2022 were postponed due to a muddy running track at the Arena of Visions stadium in Ndejje forcing organizers to relocate them to Bombo Military Barracks on Tuesday, December 20th, 2022.   

Otim beat stiff competition from Ndejje University’s Bekele Apenyo to win the race. He posted 3:56.8 to claim a gold medal while Apenyo posted 3:57.3 to win silver. Mountain Kenya University’s Boniface Mungai finished a distant third with 4:11.9 to win bronze.    

After the race, Otim told URN that he recognized some of the competitors because he had previously competed with them, which gave him the drive to challenge them.  

Asked whether he felt any challenge running on grass yet many athletes prefer a tartan, Otim said he casually trains at Makerere University, which has no tartan and is familiar with grass. Ndejje University’s Grace Ayozu won the women’s 1500m race in 4:58.9 seconds while her teammate Marvarous Orishaba came second in 4:59.2. 

Makerere University’s Peace Oroma came third in 5:20.5. In the women’s 10000-meter final, Ndejje University’s Knight Aciru defied the odds to scoop a gold medal at the expense of Kenyatta University’s Diana Wansa.    

Aciru ran almost the entire race trailing behind Wansa in a toe to toe race that saw them overlap all other competitors. But Aciro shocked hundreds of fans that stormed Bombo Military barracks to watch the action when she increased her speed towards the last 200 meters and outsprinted the Wansa, to claim a gold medal. 

Aciru crossed the finishing line at 38:25.11, and Wansa finished at 38:38.0. In an interview with URN after the race, Aciro who is a renowned middle-distance runner said she came to the race because her university had not paraded any person in the race, therefore she decided to try her luck despite the fact that she had spent almost four years without competing in a long distance.    

She, however, gained momentum as the race unfolded because she felt that the race was being run at a slow pace compared to her known middle-distance races which gave her confidence that she can battle for a medal.  

In other races, MUBS’ sprinter Wengo Geoffrey won Gold in the 400-meter race when he crossed the finishing line 49.4 while Mountain Kenya’s Onesimus Nziroka came second in 50:1, and Makerere University’s Joshua Jagalo came third in 50:1.

Elsewhere, in football, Uganda Christian University-UCU became the champions of Women’s football when they defeated Kampala University 1-0 in the final. To reach the final defeated Kyambogo University in the semifinal while Kampala University eliminated Kenyatta University.  

In men’s football Islamic University in Uganda- IUIU defied the odds to eliminate favorites Ndejje University on penalties after normal time ended in a barren draw. They will now meet Bugema University in the finals. Both athletics and football medalists will be awarded on Wednesday December 21st, 2022.

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