Uganda’s iconic runner Joshua Cheptegei has revealed why Uganda is still lagging behind neighbours Kenya in the World of Athletics.

This month, Cheptegei broke the 5000m world record at the Monaco Diamond League when he clocked 12:35.36.

That was his third world record for the 26-year old who also holds similar honours in 5km and 10km.

Despite all the achievements, Uganda has not come close what Kenya has achieved in the discipline.

In Olympics where Uganda has managed to clinch three medals, Kenya has amassed 96 (30 gold) medals in athletics only.

Kenya rank second behind USA with 151 medals in World Athletics Championship (60 gold) while Uganda are placed 39th with only eight.

At All Africa Games (now called African Games), Kenya has won 442 while Uganda has 87 medals in total.

Joshua Cheptegei (yellow). Courtesy

Cheptegei who says that the two countries have the same talent, explains that the disparity has been caused by political instabilities in the home nation.

“When you look at Kenya and Ethiopia, it’s really a long distance running nation,” Cheptegei told Lets Run.

“We have similar talent, but the other thing is that the previous governments for Uganda, you can see a lot of wars in Uganda.

“From independence, there are now nine presidents. That means that the part of the country, Kapchorwa, where we come [from], the high altitude where our training mates live, we had a problem of the Karamojong warriors who are killing people and raiding animals. We had the Pokots of Kenya who are also doing the same. That means that we never realized our potential in the early ’60s, ’70s.

“If we had an organized government back then, that means we would be like Kenya. But now we’re still just beginning. The good thing is we are really motivating a lot of the young generation.”

Kenya’s World Record holders in Athletics include David Rudisha (800m), Noah Ngeny (1000m), Daniel Komen (3000m), Geoffrey Kamworor (Half Marathon), Eliud Kipchoge (Marathon), Beatrice Chepkoech (3000m Steeplechase) not to mention their Relay teams.


Brian Kawalya is an Award winning Journalist, Director and Chief Sports Writer of The-SportsNation, covering top events and breaking some of the biggest stories.

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