|FILE Photographs of Chesang winning the world mountain running event last year.|
World Mountain running champion Stella Chesang continued her strong start to the seniors events by storming to a 5000m personal best of 15.10 and Olympic qualification. The Olympic qualification time for 5000m is 15:24.00.
Chesang, 19 qualified after she finished third in the IAAF meet in Henglo, Netherlands on Sunday behind Gidey Letesenbet 14.58 and Chebet Cheptai in 15.08
The former junior ace started her seniors career on a high by winning Uganda's national cross country championship title early this year, covering the 10km course in 34:33.
Chesang becomes the fourth Ugandan woman to qualify for the Rio Olympics. She joins Peruth Chemutai (3000m steeplechase), Juliet Chekwel (10,000m) and Adero Nyakesi (marathon).
Four women and 13 men have hit the the Rio Olympics qualifying time so far and the total of 14 spots booked for the Brazil athletics event means Uganda has already surpassed the biggest track and field team ever sent, 13 - Seoul 1988.
Uganda is expected to name a final team to the Olympics by end of this month, and officials are optimistic 18 athletes will qualify. Their biggest headache will be picking a marathon team of four from seven qualifiers, led by Olympic Champions Stephen Kiprotich.
Uganda’s track and field team at the last Olympics in London was the biggest (11 out of 15) since Seoul 1988 when we had 13. Kiprotich’s gold in London 2012, was the first Olympic medal since Davis Kamoga’s bronze in 1992 and one of only two gold Uganda has won at the games. The first gold was by Akii Bua in 1972, one of only 7 medals Uganda has won at Olympics track and field.
Athletes who have qualified
Women 4: Stella Chesang (5,000m), Peruth Chemutai (3000mSC), Juliet Chekwel (10000m) and Adero Nyakesi (marathon)
Men marathon 7: Stephen Kiprotich, Solomon Munyo Mutai, Robert Chemonges, Kiprop Jackson, Abraham Kiplimo, Alex Cheskit and Moses Kipsiro.
Men other events 6: Joshua Cheptgei (10000m and 5000m), Timothy Toroitich (10,000m), Phillip Kipyeko ( 5,000m), Ronald Musagala (1,500m) and Benjamin Kiplagat (3,000m SC), Jacob Kiplimo (5,000m)