Team Uganda Emerges Third in 2023 World Cross Country

Uganda finished third overall in the 2023 World Cross Country Championship that was held in Bathurst Australia on Saturday. Team Uganda bagged 37 points after winning one gold and one bronze medal.

Kenya won the overall team event with 22 points. They took six gold medals, two silver medals, and two bronze medals.

Ethiopia became second were second with 33 points after securing one gold, Seven silver, and one bronze medal. The United States was fourth and the Host Australia came fifth.

Benjamin Njia, the National coach who is heading the team in Australia says, the weather conditions and hot temperatures were a challenge to the team, as opposed to the cooler environment in Kapchorwa where they have been training from.

“It’s a good lesson for us that next time, we shall be training in the areas similar to the temperatures of where the competition will be,” he said.

Uganda Long-distance runner Jacob Kiplimo won the senior men’s title in 29:17.02 seconds, and Joshua Cheptegei bagged Bronze in the same 2023 World Cross Country Championship race after he came third clocking 29:37.01 seconds.

This was however a decline in Uganda’s performance in the last edition of the championship in 2019 where the country scooped a total of three medals, 1 gold, 1 silver, and 1 bronze medal.

At that edition, Joshua Cheptegei won gold in the senior men’s race, with compatriot Jacob Kiplimo taking silver and Oscar Chelimo taking bronze in the junior men’s race.

The gold for Kiplimo, however, means that the 22-year-old has won a championship medal every year since 2016 with the most outstanding being a 2020 Olympic bronze, and a 2022 double commonwealth among others.

“The conditions were tough, it was hot on the first lap, and then it changed to windy. This championship was very difficult and tough, but I am really pleased.” Kiplimo told the word athletics after the race.

Cheptegei, who was the defending champion prior to Saturday’s race, expressed regret over his limited preparations because he was returning from injury. Nonetheless, he said that his third-place finish was satisfactory and that he would use it as a starting point for the upcoming championships.

“I think it was a good race, especially coming back from injury. I didn’t have the best preparation, but I’m grateful to come here and finished on the podium. Now I can be reassured I can go focus on the track soon, and especially the coming World Championships.” Joshua Cheptegei said.

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