Olympic Games: Kipsiro quitting
London 2012 will be the last time Moses Kipsiro’s fans are seeing him at the Olympics as a track runner. “I am switching to road races at the end of next year,” Uganda’s biggest medal hopeful in London said before he left the country. “By the next Olympics, I will be running marathon.”
At 26, Kipsiro reckons age is not on his side. But that is not too much of a bother. The thought of retiring without an Olympic medal is. “I will be very disappointed,” Kipsiro responded, almost instantly, when asked how he would feel to bow out without tasting Olympic glory. “It will probably hurt forever.”
The Commonwealth double gold medallist’s best opportunity to sign off from the track in style is today when he competes in the 10,000m final. There is still the 5000m to come next week but Kipsiro has belatedly come to learn that 10,000m is his best race. “I think I will do better in the 10,000m than the 5,000m,” he admitted.
Kipsiro has not had an impressive build-up to London but there is no time for him to look back at the preparations that came hot on the heels of sickness and personal problems. “I am not as fit as I would want to be,” Kipsiro, who has competed in United Kingdom on more than two occasions this year, remarked.
The field he must outlast to end Uganda’s 16-year wait for an Olympic medal is intimidating. World record holder Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia has shaken off his injury worries and enters as the favourite while Mo Farah has the home crowd backing.
Kenyan Wilson Kiprop and Ethiopian Gebre Gebremariam are the other runners with a psychological advantage over the Ugandan hero having beaten him to second place at major championships in the past. And they did it in similar fashion, both coming from behind to out-kick him in the final five metres. Kiprop denied Kipsiro 10,000m at the 2010 Africa Senior Championships in Nairobi while Gebremariam ‘stole’ gold from the Ugandan at the 2009 World Cross-country Championships in Amman, Jordan.
These are some of the odds Kipsiro must beat to complete his journey to stardom. Luckily, he has another Ugandan youngster in Thomas Ayeko to accompany him in the 25-lap race. Failure to make the podium will soil Kipsiro’s impressive CV but he will no doubt leave the track as a gifted runner that would have scaled greater heights with more support from the people around him, not to mention the government.
Kipsiro has won a medal at every big championship except the Olympics having finished fourth (5000m) in Beijing 2008.
By SANDE BASHAIJA, Daily Monitor
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