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Joshua Cheptegei, Halimah Nakaayi open new track in Uganda

The two Ugandan world champions built the new track in an effort to develop the next generation of athletes

Photo by: Instagram/joshuacheptegei

Ugandan world champions Joshua Cheptegei and Halimah Nakaayi recently helped open a track in Chemwania, a village in Uganda. With the help of Global Sports Communication (the management agency that represents Cheptegei and Nakaayi) and the NN Running Team (Cheptegei’s professional team), the pair funded the development of the track, which was built with the next generation of Ugandan running stars in mind.

Cheptegei is the reigning 10,000m world champion, he owns four world records (5K, 5,000m, 10,000m and 15K) and he is a heavy favourite to win the 5,000m-10,000m double at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. He grew up in Uganda’s Kapchorwa District, which isn’t far from the new track in Chemwania.

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Nakaayi, the 800m gold medallist at the 2019 world championships, grew up in Mukono, closer to the Ugandan capital of Kampala.

As reported by Ugandan news outlet the Daily Monitor, Cheptegei spoke at the track’s opening ceremony, saying that he and Nakaayi helped with its development to provide local athletes with “a more conducive environment so that the country can tap and groom more sports personalities.”

He also noted that construction on a sports complex will soon begin in Chemwania. The project will cost 1 billion Ugandan shillings (about C$344,000), and it will be funded by the district’s local government and Global Sports Communication (the management agency that represents Cheptegei and Nakaayi). The complex will have a pool, a basketball court, a soccer field and a tennis court, plus it will be equipped 2,000 seats for spectators.

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This is not the first time Cheptegei has looked to nurture young Ugandan athletes. In 2020, his foundation (the Joshua Cheptegei Development Foundation) started a kids’ run in Kapchorwa, with races open to children aged 16 and younger.