World stars Joshua Cheptegei and Jacob Kiplimo will lead Uganda’s quest to win team gold at the 2023 World Cross Country Championship.
Uganda’s team traveled on Tuesday via Qatar for the world event slated for Bathurst, Australia.
Cheptegei, the world 5,000m and 10,000m champion and Kiplimo who also won bronze at the Tokyo Olympics and double gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games will be the key pillars for the Ugandan team as they target gold in Australia.
“We have a good team in both the seniors and juniors and we are confident of coming back with medals. We know we shall face tough competition from Ethiopia and Kenya, but we have prepared well enough,” said Cheptegei before the team left for Australia on Tuesday.
Cheptegei and Kiplimo are expected to combine well to get tactics as they try to out shine two-time winner and Kenya’s Geoffrey Kamworor.
Dominic Otuchet, President of the Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) made it clear that the major strength of the team is mainly in the seniors and they expect to win gold especially in the men.
"It is unfortunate that three of our junior runners were denied visas to Australia even after the government tried to explain the situation,” added Otuchet.
Besides Cheptegei and Kiplimo who are the stars for Uganda’s senior men’s team, Stella Chesang and Mercyline Chelangat who have also won medals at the international stage will lead the senior women's team. The men and women’s senior teams have six athletes, while there are five junior female runners and three junior male runners.
The World Cross Country Championship 2023 will also attract other athletes from Australia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Burundi, Canada, Brazil, Egypt, Eritrea, Spain, New Zealand and China among others.