The massive crowd that graced the JICA Road run in Kapchorwa

A lion’s share of many successful world long distance athletes hail and train from high attitude confines.

Uganda is privileged to have such zones with a big fraction situated in the Sebei Sub-region.

Lying 1,915 m (6,283 ft) above sea level is Kapchorwa, also the home district of Stephen Kiprotich, men’s marathon gold medalist at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

It is upon this rich background that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) found the area befitting to host the Uganda-Tokyo 2020 Road race there.

Business temporarily came to a standstill in the hitherto tranquil Kapchorwa town as the day’s main agenda was fulfilled with ultimate success.

The massive crowd that graced the JICA Road run in Kapchorwa
Action during the JICA-Road run in Kapchorwa

Andrew Kwemoi and Dorren Chesang emerged as the respective male and female winners in the 10,000M events.

Torotoich Ndiwa came top for the men with Rebecca Cherop won the women’s event.

The Road Race, which was organised with the Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC), left London 2012 marathon gold medallist Stephen Kiprotich impressed.

“This event will inspire thousands of kids in this place,” Kiprotich, a guest of the organisers, disclosed to Kawowo Sports.

“Some of us never had such opportunities when we were young so these children will always recall a race like this one and want to reach greater heights.”

The Road Race was organised at Boma Grounds and brought the town to a standstill with people of varying ages joining the competition.

Along the same wavelength, it was an event that the Japan ambassador H.E Kameda Kazuaki officially launched the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

His speech, which was read by the deputy Horii Mizumoto.

He welcomed Uganda’s Olympic representatives to Japan.

“Kapchorwa is Uganda’s holy place for long and medium distance runners and I am hoping that as many athletes as possible from here will pre-camp in Tateshina town as Uganda’s host town. Tateshina town is located in a high altitude area and this should allow Uganda to prepare well and achieve the best performance in the games” Kameda remarked.

Corona Virus threat:

The ambassador made mention of the global coronavirus pandemic, which is threatening to jeopardise the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Although there is uncertainty because of the Corona Virus, be sure that Japan is doing everything we can to contain the spread of the disease so that we can proceed with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games as scheduled in July and August.

Horii Mizumoto, Deputy Ambassador of Japan in Uganda
Athletes keen prior to flag off

Other prominent athletes who graced the event as guests were reigning 10,000m women’s Commonwealth champion Stella Chesang and World Paralympic champion David Emong.

Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) was ably represented by Vice President Ambrose Tashobya who hailed the Sebei community as a people fertile with long distance talent.

Tashobya revealed that UOC would continue pushing government to put in place the right infrastructure to tap the best talent from the region. 

World 10,000m champion Joshua Cheptegei, who was curiously absent, is another global superstar who is a son of the soil.  

Besides athletics, team Uganda will be represented in rowing, boxing, cycling, badminton and other events.

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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