Joseph Cheptegei speaking during the press conference at Kyoga Hall, Serena International Hotel in Kampala

Time immemorial, sportsmen and women are molded by a wide range of factors at play.

Natural talent alone has never been enough for prosperity as the surrounding environment, weather, behavioral triats, diety, age, training methodology, and the sports infrastructure all combine to play a significant role in a way or another.

Sporting venues, therefore, are pertinent in the preparation of athletes for the best results possible.

It is upon this rich background that deliberate efforts to develop sports infrastructure or maintain the few availabilities of sports amenities and facilities are much welcome ventures.

Kapchorwa where the High Altitude Centre is located

Uganda’s case with the sports infrastructure is perhaps at different wavelength across the divide with the various sports disciplines.

Legendary athlete, Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei came up with an idea to compliment on the existing sports amenities.

Three years ago (in November 2018), Cheptegei procured land measuring as big as 30 acres in his native home area of Kapchorwa and started the construction of the high altitude training center, named after him.

Joseph Cheptegei speaking during the press conference at Serena International Hotel in Kampala

By August 2021, days after winning the Olympic gold and silver in the 5000m and 10,000m respectively, the center is at 60 percent.

On 12th August 2021, he officially launched the 100 days of the Joshua Cheptegei Training Centre fundraising drive at Kyoga Hall of Kampala Serena Hotel.

The launch was also graced by the chairman of the Joshua Cheptegei Foundation Allan Chekwech, Anthony Kuka Cherotich (chairman Rockman Safaris), Dr. John Mark Bwanika (Director Operations and Projects of Rocket Health), and Martin Chemonges.

He politely called upon the countrymen and women to support the project that will not only benefit the local athletes but also, the international visitors from elsewhere.

L-R: Dr. John Mark Bwanika, Anthony Kuka Cherotich, Shiela Nduhukire, Joshua Cheptegei, Allan Chekwech and Martin Chemonges

Today, we launch a 100 days public fundraising drive to raise 1.7 billion shillings towards the completion of this project.The money will go towards the construction of a world-class hostel facility with fitness and other related equipment for athletes in the region and globally. The center is already fitted with a good Olympics size track that is in good condition to enable athletes succeed at a regional and global events.We also envision a first of its kind museum for Ugandan athletes that will continue to attract both tourists and teach the values and ethics of Ugandan athletes while authentically telling their story. We call upon everybody in Uganda and in the diaspora, corporate companies and all well wishers to join this drive to nurture the next generation of runners in our country.

Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei, World Record Holder 5000m & 10,000m
Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei celebrates in Tokyo Credit: Christel Saneh

This project represents the only best possible chance to continue the legacy of gold-winning Ugandans athletes and inspire communities of athletes all across the country to aim for the best.

To support the Joshua Cheptegei fundraising drive, use MTN Momo Pay (*165*3#) with a merchant code of 319325.

Alternatively, the dollar account 9030016913633 and shillings account 9030016912866 all registered with Stanbic Bank, Kapchorwa Branch in the names Cheptegei Joshua Kiprui.

Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei with a local fan at Serena Hotel in Kampala

The Joshua Cheptegei Training centre will be a base of training for local and international athletes. The museum will further boost tourism with different artifacts preserved in there. Kindly support the fundraiser that will last for 100 days.

Anthony Kuka Cherotich (chairman Rockman Safaris)
Anthony Kuka Cherotich (chairman Rockman Safaris)

Once completed, the center will have a track facility, hostels (boys and girls) with a mega world-class hotel.

Who is Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei?

Cheptegi is a 24-year-old Ugandan long-distance runner and 2019 world champion in the 10,000 m.

He is the tenth man in history to hold the 5,000 m and 10,000 m world records concurrently, both set in 2020.

In 2017, he became the silver medalist in the 10,000 metres event at the World Championship in London.

Joshua Cheptegi during training Credit: Matthew Quine

In 2018, he set a world record for the 15 km road race and became the cross country world champion in 2019. In 2020, at a road race in Monaco, he set a new world road 5 km record of 12:51, breaking through the event’s 13-minute barrier, taking 9 seconds from the previous best time of 13:00, set by Kenya’s Sammy Kipketer in 2000.

In August 2020, at the Monaco Diamond League meet, he set a new 5000 metres world record of 12:35.36, breaking Kenenisa Bekele’s 16-year-old world record of 12:37.35 set in Hengelo.

On 7 October 2020, in Valencia, he set a world record time of 26:11.00 in the 10000 meters, which again improved on Kenenisa Bekele’s 15-year-old record by more than 6 seconds.

At the Tokyo 2020 games hosted in 2021, Cheptegei won 5000m and was second in 10,000m.

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

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