Crowded around television sets, cheering Ugandans celebrated as compatriot Stephen Kiprotich claimed an unexpected gold medal in the Olympic Games men's marathon on Sunday.
Outsider Kiprotich stunned a heavily-fancied Kenyan team to grab victory, leaving two-time defending world champion Abel Kirui to claim silver and long-time leader Wilson Kipsang taking bronze.
Kiprotich's gold was only his east African nation's second, the last coming 40 years ago when 400m hurdler John Akii-Bua struck gold at the Munich Games. “It is a great day for us Ugandans and for our country,” Ahamed Lubwama, a restaurant manager in the bustling Kabalagala suburb, said.
Lubwama, 51, said he could still remember listening to the radio as a boy the last time Uganda scooped a gold medal, but did not have much hope that he would ever see his countrymen claim another one.
As Kiprotich produced a devastating kick with 7km to go to win in a time of 2hr 08min 01sec on the spectacular course around the streets of central London, Ugandans crowded the dusty roads outside bars to will him on.
“The people were so many and they were enjoying it so much and cheering,” David Abola, a bartender, said, pointing at a gaggle of happily chattering customers. — AFP