KAMPALA, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- Many Ugandans on Monday woke up to the news that their star athlete Joshua Cheptegei on Sunday evening won gold at the athletics world championships in Doha, Qatar.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in a tweet congratulated the star for his performance saying that he had again hoisted the country's flag high.
"Congratulations to Joshua Cheptegei for winning gold in the men's 10,000m final at the IAAF Doha 2019 championships. Once again, you have hoisted the Uganda flag high. We are proud of you!" Museveni said.
In recent years Uganda has put up impressive performances in the track and field events on the international arena.
In the Doha event, another Ugandan Halima Nakaayi won gold in the women's 800m final on Sept. 30.
Uganda's winning of gold medals at the Doha event is another sign that the country has joined the categories of countries that are stars in athletics, like its neighbor Kenya, which has for long won several medals on the international arena.
The weekend win brings back memories of the gold Stephen Kiprotich won for Uganda at the marathon race during the 2012 London Olympics. Kiprotich's win was the second gold at the Olympics after star athlete John Akii Bua won gold in the marathon race at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
Star athletes like Dorcus Inzikuru and Moses Kipsiro are household names in Uganda that budding athletes are striving to emulate.
Uganda's rise to the international scene is a story of perseverance. Many athletes with no appropriate gear and at times proper feeding, chase their dream of winning medals.
Some even cross to neighboring Kenya to train with their counterparts who are more experienced and have better training facilities.
These struggles backed with increasing political will is now yielding results, placing Uganda among the top African countries like Ethiopia and Kenya that are winning medals.
"I have had very important races this season that have helped me improve my time and the training has also been perfect. I will push myself to win gold in Doha," Cheptegei said in a recent interview here before travelling to Doha.
Dominic Otuchet, president of the Uganda Athletics Federation told Xinhua that they anticipate winning more medals at the Doha event from the other star athletes. Uganda sent a 22-man team for the championship.
Otuchet predicted that Cheptegei would win a medal.
Besides the prize money the athletes win at the different events, back home, government rewards them with a monthly stipend. Some have been given cars and houses to thank them for their performance.
These are intended to motivate the athletes and also inspire others that have not yet won medals.