The hosts emerged as the overall most successful nation at the Eastern Africa Cross Country Championships that were held today over a course set out at Entebbe Golf Course.
Although they lacked the services of women’s World 3000m Steeplechase champion Dorcus Inzikuru and the 2004 Olympic men’s 10,000m fourth placer Boniface Kiprop, Uganda still garnered more medals than any other country at the one-day championships.
Kenya who fielded just two junior teams (men and women) started well when three of their female junior runners swept the podium in the 6km junior race. The trio of Veronica Njeri, Catherine Wanjiru and Mary Wacera started the race with a fast pace that held off the Ugandan duo of Lillian Badaru and Jackline Cheruto, with Njeri out-sprinting her team-mates to cross the finishing line first with 20:05.
Uganda’s title hopes were revived by Jane Suuto who won the senior women’s 4km in 14:08 but later she was beaten in the women’s long race by Ethiopian Haile Teraza Yohannes who clocked 28:20. Silver and bronze medals went to Uganda courtesy of Christine Muneria and Suuto who crossed with times of 28:36 and 28:49 respectively.
2003 World Junior Cross Country team bronze medallist Isaac Kiprop, 19, became Uganda’s hero of the day when he beat Tanzania’s experienced Martin Sulle to win the men’s 12km race, which was contested by international names such as Wilson Kipkemei, Martin Toroitich, Moses Aliwa and Paul Wakou.
The race lead was shared early on by Kiprop, Kipkemei and Sulle but the reigning Ugandan 10,000m and cross-country champion Kiprop escaped from these two opponents during the final two laps to cross the finish in 35:29. Sulle finished second with 35:37, while Kipkemei was third with 36:22. However, Sulle was successful in the men's 4km, winning in 11:25.
Uganda was using these championships to select their squad for the World Cross Country Championships which take place this year in Fukuoka, Japan (1 – 2 April).
Daniel Ssenfuma - Daily Monitor - for the IAAF
Junior women 6km
1. Veronica Njeri (Kenya) 20:05
2. Catherine Wanjiru (Kenya) 20:11
3. Mary Wacera (Kenya) 20:21
4. Lillian Badaru (Uganda) 20:40
5. Germeda Gezashign Hunduma (Ethiopia) 20:44
Senior women 4km
1. Jane Suuto (Uganda) 14:08
2. Prossy Nalweyiso (Uganda) 14:47
3. Janet Achola (Uganda) 15:17
4. Albina Edward Kichana (Zanzibar) 15:26
5. Zuhena Mashaka Msuri (Zanzibar) 15:29
Senior women 8km
1. Haile Teraza Yohannes (Ethiopia) 28:20
2. Christine Chepto Muneria (Uganda) 28:36
3. Jane Suuto (Uganda) 28:49
4. Adero Nyakisi (Uganda) 30:35
5. Irene Chemusto (Uganda) 30:44
Junior men 8km
1. Samuel Ndungu (Kenya) 23:28
2. Kemal Dino Sefir (Ethiopia) 23:28
3. Fred Arapsudi (Uganda) 23:41
4. Boniface Mbuvi (Kenya) 23:47
5. Geoffrey Kusuro (Uganda) 23:50
Senior men 4km
1. Martin Sulle (Tanzania) 11:25
2. Ben Siwa (Uganda) 11:48
3. Peter Sulle (Tanzania) 11:48
4. Alex Cherop (Uganda) 11:50
5. Alex Sanka (Tanzania) 11:58
Senior men 12km
1. Isaac Kiprop (Uganda) 35:29
2. Martin Sulle (Tanzania) 35:37
3. Wilson Busienei Kipkemei (Uganda) 36:22
4. Samuel Kosgei (Uganda) 36:33
Final overall standings 1. Uganda, 2. Zanzibar, 3. Kenya, 4. Tanzania, 5. Ethiopia, 6. Sudan, 7. Somalia