London, Aug 13 (IANS) People in Uganda celebrated the gold medal won by marathoner Stephen Kiprotich at the 2012 London Olympics. It was Uganda's first Olympic gold in 40 years since late John Akii Bua won the 400 metres in the 1972 Munich Olympics.
Kiprotich, who finished third in the Tokyo Marathon this year, broke away from two Kenyan rivals to win the men's marathon, Xinhua reported.
After running side by side with world champion Abel Kirui and Wilson Kipsang, the 23-year-old put in a powerful kick to shake off the Kenyans.
All 15 Ugandan athletes had fallen by the way side in other events like badminton, swimming, weightlifting and track and field events, but Kiprotich, who arrived after training in Kenya, made Ugandans proud.
Charles Bakkabulindi, minister of state for sports who was in London to cheer the team before flying back Friday, told Xinhua that he was very happy after many years of trying that Uganda has finally won a medal.
"I am very happy because this gold medal has come when I am in-charge of sports as a minister. It has taken years of planning and we have worked hard despite some hardships," Bakkabulindi said.
Ambrose Tashobya, chairman of the Federation of Uganda Basketball Association, and also a member of the Uganda Olympic Committee, was equally a happy man. He described the gold victory by Kiprotich as one of the best things to the country this year.
Uganda sent a team including Moses Ndiema Kipsiro, Benjamin Kiplagat, Janet Achola, Jane Suuto, Stephen, Jacob Araptany, Geoffrey Kusuro, Abraham Kiplimo, Julius Mutekanga, Thomas Ayeko, Dorcus Inzikuru (athletics), Jamila Lunkuse, Ganzi Mugula (swimming), Charles Ssekyaya (weightlifting) and Edwin Ekiring (badminton).