JOHANNESBURG – Uganda’s Ronald Musagala is the latest addition to a stellar lineup of internationally-acclaimed athletes who will be competing at the 2018 Athletix Grand Prix Series.
He will make his appearance in the 1 500m on Thursday, March 1 at Ruimsig Stadium and the 3 000m a week later on Thursday, March 8 at Tuks in Tshwane.
Musagala will line up against fellow countryman and World Championship 10 000m silver medallist, Joshua Cheptegei, in the 1 500m on March 1 in an intriguing match-up as Musagala made the Olympic finals in the 1 500m where he finished 11th.
With a best of 3:33.65 in the three and three-quarter lap race, Musagala on paper, has the edge over Cheptegei who has only run the 1 500m once, clocking 3:37.82.
Musagala’s 3:33.65 is also the national record of Uganda. With an 800m best of 1:45.87, Musagala will be hoping for a fast pace to counter the speed endurance of Cheptegei who has a substantially faster 5 000m time than the 13:24.41 of Musagala (12:59.83).
That said, Musagala rarely ventures beyond the 1 500m, in fact, he has run the 5 000m only twice.
The 25-year-old is in fine form, having anchored his regional team to a win in the team relay at the Ugandan National Cross-Country Championships.
“That was a great moment for me, especially as it was held in the region I call home,” said Musagala. “I felt really good and know that this means that come 01 March, I will be in great shape for the 1 500m.”
Musagala is excited at the prospect of facing his countryman. “Josh (Joshua Cheptegei) is very popular in Uganda and has done very well, but the 1 500m is my speciality distance and Josh will need to run on my terms. So I am really looking forward to the race.”
The 3 000m will be an interesting duel a week later as the duo will be entering Cheptegei territory. “My focus is the 1 500m. Josh is more of a 5 000/10 000m athlete but can run fast over the 3 000m too.
“He has run 7:34 before. I have only done two 5 000m races and never a 3 000m race. I have more leg speed than him so we should have a really good battle over what we could call middle ground.”
Musagala is too wily a campaigner to only watch one athlete. Having represented Uganda seven times already, he has learnt not to focus too much on one athlete.
“South Africa has some really good middle-distance athletes and if I end up watching only Josh, this could cost me dearly.”
African News Agency (ANA)