No doubt Uganda has joined the bandwagon of Kenya and Ethiopia as Eastern Africa powerhouse in athletics. The current domination of long-distance running by Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo cement the fact.
At the beginning of the millennium, nothing much about athletics could be celebrated in a country famous for its bananas, except for Davis Kamoga. Specializing in 400m, Kamoga won a bronze medal in the 1996 summer Olympics held in Atlanta Georgia. He also won the silver medal at the world championship held in Athens Greece a year later.
But it's Boniface Kiprop who is credited for revolutionizing distance running in Uganda, so is Dorcus Inzikru. Born in Kapchorwa, Uganda in 1985, Kiprop specialized in 5000m and 10,000m, his sibling Martin Toroitich was also a world-class marathoner. Dorcus majored in the 3000m steeplechase.
In 2004 Boniface Kiprop won 10,000m in the world junior championship held in Grosseto, Italy. He also competed at the 2004 summer Olympics for his native country. But the epitome of his success is well defined in 2006 when he won the first gold medal in 10,000m at commonwealth games held in Melbourne, Australia. His incredible time of 26;39.77 in 10,000m still stands as a national record for Uganda. On the other hand, Dorcus Inzikru won the gold medal in the 2005 world championship and 2006 commonwealth games.
Kiprop's win in Melbourn set the precedence for long-distance running in Uganda. Since then, Uganda has won all the medals in 10,000m something that has kept Kenyans at bay. Then comes Moses Kipsiro who was even more ferocious than his predecessor, he too dominated track and cross country. Kipsiro won two editions of the commonwealth games in 2010 and 2014 in 10,000m, held in Delhi and Glasgow respectively, in Delhi he still managed to clinch the gold medal in 5000m. During his pinnacle in athletics, he won the bronze medal in 5000m in the world championship held in Osaka, Japan, not to mention the silver medal he won at the world cross country championship in Amann. Moreover, he won other accolades in the Africa championship, IAAF Grand Prix, and Golden Leagues.
The current sensation of Joshua Chepteigei and Jacob Kiplimo is not only going for championship medals but also world records. The former has successfully tamed Kenyans and Ethiopians; the perennial rivals who have been dominating long-distance running. Since winning double gold in commonwealth games in 2018 Cheptegei has won in all championship titles, ranging from world cross country to world athletics championship. secured in his cabinet too are 5km world records both on the road and track. Needless to say, the Ugandan ace has not yet, done with world records.
Finally, Jacob Kiplimo seismic invasion at diamond leagues recently demystifies that indeed Ugandans are unsubduable. Kiplimo ran his personal best in Ostrova Golden spike when he posted 12:48.63 in 5000m. A few days later ,he ran the 8th fastest time in all-time rankings in 3000m by winning the Rome diamond league in scintillating 7:26.64.
Amazingly almost all the runners in Uganda belong to the Kalenjin sub-tribe known as Sebei living on the slope of Mount Elgon. Just like Kenya the Kalenjin community occupying the expansive Rifty valley are known too for their phenomenal contribution in long-distance running.