1.An Expected Milestone Of A 4-Year-Old Is The Ability To Amos Omolo – Uganda’s First Olympic Running Finalist

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Amos Omolo – Uganda’s First Olympic Running Finalist

Ugandan sprinter Amos Omolo was probably born on March 9, 1937 in Kenya, from where he is said to have immigrated to Uganda, where he competed for a considerable period of time. A dedicated and accomplished runner, Omolo competed against some of the legendary 400m world record holders and Olympians of the 1960s and 1970s. At the 1968 Olympics, Amos Omolo set the national record in the 400-meter run, which stood for 27 years. As such, Amos Omolo will forever stand out internationally as Uganda’s (first) top elite runner.

Amos Omolo demonstrated international competitiveness at the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth, Western Australia, from 22 November to 1 December. Omolo took bronze in the 440-yard run (nearly equivalent to the metric 400), with a time of 46.88 seconds, a photo-finishing melee. Jamaica’s George Cole won in 46.74 seconds and England’s Robbie Brightwell was second in 46.86 seconds. As noted in Bob Phillip’s Imperial Glory, Sporting Glory: A History of Athletics at the Commonwealth Games (2000:92), this is only the sixth time bronze medalist Omolo has forayed the distance. This African show has left a deep impression on many, and it portends spectacular African shows to come in the near future. Omolo is also part of Uganda’s 4x400m relay team. Other members of the group were Asmani Bawala, Francis Hatega and George Odeke. It was a prestigious presence, but Uganda finished eighth and last with a time of 3:13.6. Uganda’s only other medal was a bronze in the 440-yard column by Benson Ishiepai.

Uganda’s other notable achievements in these competitions came through boxing: heavyweight Giorgio Ibelo won gold, bantamweight J. Sentongo won bronze, featherweight Kesi Odongo won silver, Francis Nyan Viso Get a bronze medal. A total of six medals was a milestone for newly politically independent Uganda. Uganda’s overall performance ranked 11th out of 35 countries participating in the Olympic Games. The leap was huge from welterweight boxer Thomas Carville’s only Ugandan medal at the last Commonwealth Games in Cardiff, Wales in 1958. In Cardiff, Uganda ranked 17th out of 24 participating countries. Uganda first participated in the Commonwealth Games in Vancouver, Canada in 1954. Uganda’s first entry earned the country a medal: Patrick Etolu won silver in the high jump. It was an encouraging start for Uganda, which ranked 14th out of 24 participating countries.

Tokyo hosted the 1964 Summer Olympics, which were opened by Emperor Hirohito on October 11, 1964. The closing ceremony took place on 24 October. Amos Omolo’s relatively mediocre performance didn’t allow him to move on after the first round. The 27-year-old Omollo finished fifth with 47.6 points in the third of the four heats. All the men who beat Omollo were much younger than him. The Tokyo race was even more disappointing as the Ugandan 4×100 men’s relay team, consisting of Amos Omolo, Erasmus Amukun, Aggrey Awori and James Odongo, was eliminated after finishing sixth in the heats.

The next Commonwealth Games were held in Kingston, Jamaica from 4 to 13 August 1966. Uganda did not win any medals in athletics, but boxers Alex Odhiambo (light middleweight), Mathias Ouma (middleweight) and Benson Ocan (heavyweight) went home with bronze. Uganda’s overall performance was lackluster compared to the last Commonwealth Games. Uganda ranks 21st out of 32 participating countries.

The East and Central African Athletics Championships (mainly involving Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania; later Zambia, Somalia, Ethiopia, and even Egypt) are usually held annually. Omolo’s top performances at these championships include his gold medal win in 1968, which was held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s capital. Omolo won in 47.6 seconds. During the 1960s, the Omolo was regularly part of Uganda’s numerous medal-winning teams in the sprint and long distance relays.

Amos Omollo was nearly 32 years old when he arrived in Mexico City to represent Uganda in the Olympic Games from October 12 to 27, 1968, making him Uganda’s oldest competitor. His relative age—many of the world’s top 100-meter and 400-meter runners are nearly 10 years or more younger—doesn’t seem to affect Omolo’s resolve.

Omolo is much less well known in the 100m than in the 400m. In the first round of the 100-meter dash (held on October 13), Omolo draws in Heat 2. Surprisingly, Omolo was relatively impressive, finishing fourth (10.5 seconds) behind legendary future world record holder 22-year-old James Ray “Jim” Hines of the United States (10.26 seconds), Madagascar’s Jean -Louis Ravelomanantsoa (10.30 seconds) and Gaoussou Koné of Côte d’Ivoire (10.37 seconds). Four advance to the quarterfinals.

The quarter-finals will be held on the same day, 13 October. Omolo was drawn in Heat 3. Omollo was eliminated after 7th and 10.45 seconds on the clock. The winner was Pablo Montes of Cuba (10.1 seconds). The next three advanced to the semi-finals. They were East Germany’s Hartmut Schelter (10.29 seconds), Japan’s Hideo Iijima (10.31 seconds) and French print Gerard Fenouil (10.31 seconds). Four advanced to the semi-finals.

On October 16, the first round of preliminaries for the men’s 400-meter sprint was held. Omolo won his preliminaries (heat five) with an impressive time of 45.88 seconds. Behind him and advancing together to the next round (quarterfinals) were Kenya’s Munyoro Hezekiah Nyamau (45.91 seconds), France’s Jean-Claude Nallet (45.93 seconds) and West’s Hellmar Muller (45.98 seconds). Germany.

The quarter-finals took place the following day, 17 October. Omolo was drawn in the second game. So, he’s doing really well. Omolo won with the highest Ugandan national record of 45.33 seconds until Davis Kamoga broke it on May 5, 1995 in Nairobi, Kenya with a time of 45.29 seconds. It was not until August 5, 1997 that Kamoga broke the record by finishing second at the 6th IAAF World Athletics Championships in Athens, after which he broke the record 5 more times with his time of 44.37 seconds, setting a national record. Davis Kamoga remains officially the only Ugandan to finish the 400 meters faster than Omolo.

In the quarterfinals, Omolo did beat past and future 400m (and 4x400m relay) world record veteran Lee Evans. However, it is likely that the 21-year-old legendary driver Lee Evans just relaxed during the race and made it to the next round (semi-finals) easily and safely. Lee Evans was second with 45.54 seconds, Munyoro Hezekiah Nyamau was third with 46.12 seconds and Wolfgang Muller of East Germany (GDR) was fourth with 46.32 seconds. Four advanced to the semi-finals. Amos Omolo has proven he is a medal contender! Hezekiah Nyamau went on to be part of the astonishing Kenyan 4x400m relay team in 1968, which set a national record and won silver, finishing second to the world record-breaking US team.

In the next Olympic Games (Munich, 1972), Hezekiah Nyamau will be part of the Kenyan gold medalist team. The United States has been weakened as recent 400m gold and silver medalists Vince Matthews and Wayne Colette have been banned from further competition for their alleged shoddy standing on the medal stand during the playing of the US national anthem. American John Smith, the favorite to win the 400-meter race, was weakened by a leg injury and retired early in the final. Severely reducing the US team gave Kenya a chance to win. They did it, proving their silver medal at the last Olympics was no fluke! Besides Nyamau, the Kenyan relay team includes all the great legendary runners: Charles Asati, Julius Sang (who won a bronze medal in the 400m at the same Olympics) and Robert Ouko.

The semi-finals of the 400-meter race were also held on the same day as the quarter-finals (October 17), proving that the closeness of the heats required runners to adopt strategies to minimize overexertion. The situation has indeed changed dramatically! In Omolo’s second warm-up match, Lee Edward Evans won in 44.83 seconds (a new Olympic record) ahead of rival 20-year-old American George Lawrence “Larry” James in 44.88 seconds. Runner-up, 23-year-old West German veteran Martin Yellinghaus (FDR) was third with a time of 45.06 seconds and 31-year-old Amos Omollo was fourth with a time of 45.52 seconds. These four athletes will advance to the finals where they will compete against another (Heat) top four semifinalist: Senegal’s 28-year-old Amadou Gakou (45.17 seconds), 21-year-old Ron Freeman (45.47 seconds) and the United States’ 25-year-old Andrzej Badenski (45.50 seconds) from Poland and 27-year-old Tegegne Bezabeh (45.60 seconds) from Ethiopia. The lineup is ready for the final showdown!

The next day, without much rest, the men’s 400m final is scheduled for October 18. This game will prove to be outstanding and historic. Amos Omolo is at a disadvantage on the outermost lane 8 (lanes 4 and 5 are considered to be the advantage in this long run), which was at the front of the race from the start, so his judgment of the speed race behind him is minimize. Eventually, Lee Evans set a new world record of 43.86 seconds, which was not broken until 20 years later (1988) by Harry “Butch” Reynolds of the United States. Additionally, Lee Evans became the first person to run the 400 meters in under 44 seconds. A young Larry James caught up to Evans in the unfavorable second lane, but could only make it in 43.97 seconds (a personal best).

Perhaps one of the inspirations behind these sub-44-second achievements was Omolo, who started the sprint in the first 200 meters. But Omolo is clearly exhausted. He finished last (8th) with a mediocre time of 47.61 seconds, like an athlete who has lost hope. As for the other players, American Ron Freeman, who ran on the disadvantaged No. 1 track, won the bronze medal with a time of 44.41 seconds. Maybe the contest ends up being a contest between Lee Evans and Larry James.

Fourth was Senegal’s Amadou Gakou (on the favorable lane 5) in 45.01 seconds and Martin Jellinghaus (in lane 3) of West Germany (FDR/FRG) was fifth in 45.33 seconds. Ethiopia’s Tegegne Bezabeh was sixth in 45.42 seconds on the favorable track four. Poland’s Andrzej Badenski was seventh in the photo with Bezabeh, and Badenski also scored 45.42. A clearly disappointed and struggling Omolo will be the only one of the finalists to finish in more than 46 seconds or even more than 47 seconds. Omolo fell behind and finished in a disappointing 47.61 seconds! For a competitor who won the first two rounds, it was something unexpected.

The 1968 Olympics would be Omollo’s last big appearance. Amos Omolo’s performance has been mixed. Omolo proved his worth despite his advanced age, setting his personal best Ugandan 400m record in 1968. Having earned prestige in both of his previous preliminaries, he reached the finals of the Olympic long-distance race, an achievement that remains rare among Ugandan Olympians. The Olympic Games in Mexico City are one of the most important in history. Black Power demonstrations were there, and Africans (more Kenyans with several medals to their name) showed that they were a force to be reckoned with in sport. Some Africans set individual, regional and even Olympic records. Amos Omolo was an important part of that grand history.

refer to

Murphy, F. The Last Protest: Lee Evans in Mexico City. Windsprint Press, Michigan: 2006.

Phillips, B. Glory to Empire, Glory to Sport: A History of Athletics at the Commonwealth Games. Pallswood, Michigan: 2000.

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