BIRMINGHAM, England – Victor Kiplangat made a wrong turn about a mile from the finish line but still managed to give Uganda its first-ever Commonwealth Games marathon gold medal on Saturday in Birmingham.
The 22-year-old barely put a foot wrong until his moment of confusion, but he regrouped and finished in 2hr 10min 55sec, a broad grin on his face.
“The motorcycle riders were confusing me,” he explained. “They told me to turn around. “However, I made it to the end.”
Kiplangat, who was not selected for Uganda’s team at the recent world championships in Eugene, Oregon, was overjoyed with his victory.
“I believe I will be a great man like [Uganda’s] Joshua Cheptegei and [Kenya’s] Eliud Kipchoge,” he declared.
Cheptegei is the Olympic 5,000m champion and a two-time world 10,000m champion, while Kipchoge is a double Olympic marathon champion.
“We’ll keep breaking records,” he promised. “Everything is possible as long as we are healthy.” I’m still young and still growing. “I believe I can do better.”
Michael Githae of Kenya took bronze, finishing more than two minutes behind the winner.
Githae, who won the last-ever Fukuoka Marathon in December last year, was overjoyed because he had been called up late to the team.