Uganda: Albert Chemutai
Athletics: 3000m Steeplechase (Heat 1)
Date: Friday, July 30
Time: 3:30am Ug time
Venue: Tokyo Olympics Stadium
TV: SuperSport Olympics 1 (Dstv)
Uganda’s first runner to take centre stage at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be Albert Chemutai who is taking part in the 3000m steeplechase in the first heat.
The top three in each heat, and the best six in all the three heats qualify to the finals due Tuesday, August 2.
Chemutai, whose personal best is 8:12.29 he recorded at the 2019 Monaco Diamond League, will be hoping for a place in top three in his heat.
Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma will be the favourite to win Heat one – He is ranked number one this year thanks to his 8:07.75 winning time at the Monaco Diamond League three weeks back. He also won silver at the 2019 World Championships in Doha.
Kenya’s Benjamin Kigen will be another one to watch given the history of his country in the 3000m steeplechase.
There is also France’s Djilali Bedrani who has 8:11.17 this year and Japan’s 19-year old Ryuji Miura who has broken the country’s record twice this year.
Chemutai will be making his Olympics debut but he’s not new to the world scene having competed at the Wold Championships.
He has recorded a couple of races under his belt this year in the 3000m SC – He started with a time of 8:31.21 at the 60th Ostrava Golden Spike in Czech.
He clocked 8:41.42 in Doha Diamond League where he was only beaten by Kenya’s Moses Kibet and Qatar’s Yaser Salem.
He finished with a time of 8:23.96 at the Golden Gala in Italy and clocked 8:23.65 last month at the Irena Szewinska Memorial, recording his seasonal best.
Uganda has not recorded any success in the 3000m SC at the Olympics – in Rio 2016, Jacob Araptany qualified through the heat but Did Not Finish in the final while Benjamin Kiplagat failed to earn a place in the final.
Friday – Uganda’s schedule:
*3000m men steeplechase
Heat 1 at 3:30am
Heat 1 at 4:25am
Heat 2 at 4:33am
Heat 1 at 1:00pm
Heat 2 at 1:26pm
*Women’s 50m freestyle
Heat 6 at 1:34pm
*10000m men Final at 2:30pm