Chalangat and Chelimo impress for Uganda on Youth Olympic Games opener
- Uganda’s distance runners laid down a strong marker, on the opening day of athletics at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games on Thursday, as rainy conditions didn’t dampen the fierce competition in Buenos Aires’ Youth Olympic Park
Uganda’s distance runners laid down a strong marker, on the opening day of athletics at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games on Thursday, as rainy conditions didn’t dampen the fierce competition in Buenos Aires’ Youth Olympic Park.
Distance medallists in Argentina will be decided based on placings over two stages, with 1500m, 3000m and 2000m steeplechase athletes all entered for the cross country later in the programme.
In the women’s 3000m, Sarah Chalangat won with the sort of strength needed to prosper away from the track. The Ugandan sat happily in the lead group until 1800 metres, when she eased to the front. As Kenya’s Mercy Chepkorir and Ethiopia’s Abersh Belay sparred for second behind, Chelangat remained unflustered, sprinting from the pair with 200 metres to go to win in a personal best 9:11.63. Chepkorir outdueled Belay to cross in second.
It was a similar story in the men’s event, as Oscar Chelimo showed brilliant resilience to hold off Ethiopia’s Berihu Teklehaimanot and Kenya’s Jackson Muema for another Ugandan win. The three moved to the front with 600 metres to go after reeling in Tanzania’s fast-starting Francis Damasi. Chelimo’s lead was marginal as the trio hit the bell, but he repelled late surges to cross first in 8:08.20.
A good win for both Ugandans, but they count for nothing until Monday’s off-road decider.
It is similarly finely-poised in the women’s discus which, like all throwing events, will be decided by combined marks across two stages. Cuba’s Melany del Pilar Matheus Morejon was the winner in the first courtesy of a best throw of 53.70m. Her advantage over Russia’s Violetta Ignatyeva is just 23cm; Tukey’s Ozlem Becerek (51.90m) and China’s Quantong Liu (50.30m) were also over the 50-metre mark, making it tight at the top ahead of the second stage.
It’s not quite as tight in the men’s competition, with New Zealand’s Connor Bell finding 66.84m with his third attempt to lead by over nine metres ahead of Brazil’s Vitor Gabriel Motin, in second
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