Uganda's 13-person athletics team endured a 685km drive by bus to Kenya this week, ahead of the 10th edition of the IAAF World U-18 Championships at the Moi Sports Complex in Nairobi.
The event, which brings together over 150 nations, will run July 12-16. The Ugandans' journey to compete, around 425 miles and close to 15 hours, was undertaken by bus for financial reasons.
"We did not have the finances to fly the team and instead opted to have them travel by road and also have more athletes on the team," President of the Uganda Athletics Federation, Dominic Otuchet, told KweséESPN on Tuesday.
Otuchet explained that they tried to find money to have the team travel by air, but failed to raise enough. He added that although they have taken small team compared to other nations, they expect them to perform well.
"These junior athletes have trained hard and have been doing good times," he continued.
Daniel Kiprop, who will compete in the 1500m, said before departure on Monday that traveling by road will not affect them: "We were mentality prepared for the road journey and will be in shape when the Championship starts."
Head coach Moses Asonya, a former national athlete himself, said they are confident the team will bring medals from Nairobi.
"These lads have trained really hard and all of them are hungry to make the country proud. Competing in Nairobi feels like competing at home," he said.
Two female athletes, Sarah Chelengat and Esther Chekwemoi, are part of the male-dominated team, while youngster Eric Layeng, who stands at 6 feet tall, will be Uganda's hope in the sprints. Layeng has run a 47s this season over the 400m.
Kiprop and Hosea Kiplangat take on the 1500m, while Oscar Chelimo and Titus Kwemoi will fly the flag in the men's 3000m. Joel Kiplangat and Vincent Chemutai will run the 2000m SC.
The Championship is for competitors who are 17 or younger, and is expected to attract over 2000 participants from 159 countries. Hosts Kenya, together with Ethiopia, Uganda, and Eritrea, are a few of the nations expected to do well, especially in the long distance races.
The event will also be last edition of the IAAF World U-18 Championships, after the IAAF Council decided to discontinue the event, reasoning that it was not the best pathway for those athletes at that stage of their career.
Sarah Chelangat, Esther Chekwemoi, Eric Layeng, Joshua Kibet, Bekele Apenyo, Daniel Kiprop, Hosea Kiplangat, Oscar Chelimo, Titus Kwemoi, Vincent Chemutai, Joel Kiplangat, Emmanuel Ngoni, Emmanuel Nuwagaba