07 JUL 2007 General News Kampala, Uganda

World champion Inzikuru doubtful for Osaka

An exhausted Dorcus Inzikuru after the 3000m Steeplechase final (Getty Images)An exhausted Dorcus Inzikuru after the 3000m Steeplechase final (Getty Images) © Copyright

World and Commonwealth women’s 3000m Steeplechase champion Dorcus Inzikuru could be out of next month’s 11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics, Osaka, Japan (25 Aug to 2 Sep) due health and fitness problems.

Uganda’s World champion hasn’t competed internationally since her DNF at the World Cross Country Championships in March after which she has encountered health and fitness problems.

“I am currently having a small (amount of) training and I can’t think of the World Championships with the World record holder Gulnara Samitova(-Galkina) fitter than me,” said Inzikuru.

“I will be making a lie if I promised the world (I will) go to challenge in Osaka, I need at least four months to recover and return to compete favourably on the track, my health has greatly improved but I haven’t had enough training to challenge for honours in Osaka,” she added.

Inzikuru enjoyed some successes earlier this year in February when she won the short race at the Italian cross country club championship in Modena and a week later triumphed at the 30th edition of Almond Blossom, an IAAF Permit cross country. She then travelled to Mombasa for the World Cross Country where she failed to finish due to the unfavourable hot and humid conditions that saw various prominent world stars dropping out of their races.

“I have not been the same since running in Mombasa…I haven’t had the love for training as I did when I won the World Championships gold medal in Helsinki, Finland, two years ago.”

After returning from Mombasa, Inzikuru’s health troubles started and they kept her out of training until this month and recently. Recently the World champion pulled out of the All Africa Games which take place later this month in Algiers, Algeria.

“I am thinking of competing at next year’s Olympics but for now bye-bye to Osaka,” she said.

However, Dr Flavio Pasquato who is part of the Italian coaching and management structure surrounding the 25-year-old Ugandan star believes it is too early for Inzikuru to pull out of Osaka and that she can return on time to fitness.

“Inzikuru faced similar problems last year before she travelled for the Commonwealth Games and she surprised everybody with a gold medal triumph in the finals, I can’t rule her out in July, let's wait until the World Championships start" (on 25 Aug).

If Inzikuru fails to compete at the World Championships in Osaka, then the small East African country of Uganda will have no female athletes on the team.

“Girls in my country don’t want to train but it is hard work that pays off, I couldn’t reach this level if I hadn’t followed my coach’s advice of hard training,” said Inzikuru, who is advised by the legendary Italian coach Renato Canova.
 
Daniel Senfuma for IAAF