Victor Kiplangat, winner of the Comm Games 2022 marathon, takes the wrong turn

Victor Kiplangat took a wrong turn about a mile from the finish but still managed to give Uganda their first-ever Commonwealth Games marathon gold medal in Birmingham on Saturday.

The 22-year-old barely took a wrong foot until his moment of confusion with just minutes left in the race.

“Oh, was he wrong?” said former British athlete Steve Cram in a commentary for the BBC. “Oh no, no, no, no, no!”

But Kiplangat picked himself up and clocked 2:10:55, heading home with a broad smile on his face.

“The people riding the motorcycles troubled me,” I said. “They told me to turn back. But I still got to the end.”

Cram defended the Ugandan’s mistake saying: “It’s not his fault. There’s a blue line and I followed the vehicle… There must have been a lead bike. It’s terrible.

“I have no idea how it happened. Surely there should be marshals on that corner to point it in the right direction.

Co-commentator and former athlete Paula Radcliffe added: “I think maybe he was focused on the bike in front of him. A lot of times the blue line can also disappear just because they didn’t mark out a particular section. , and it’s a dash, not a solid blue line.

There were no such navigational problems for Australian Jessica Stenson, who eventually turned back-to-back bronze medals into gold in the women’s race after a selfless act by a teammate sealed his victory.

Despite his wrong turn, Kiplangat finished more than a minute and a half clear of Tanzanian 2017 world bronze medalist Alphonce Simbu.

But for that slight detour, he might have broken the long-standing Games record set by Englishman Ian Thompson (2:09.12), set in Christchurch in 1974.

“When I reached 35 kilometers, I thought I had some hope (of beating him),” he said, adding that making history for his country was a great consolation.

“I believe Uganda is proud of me today. We were expecting this,” he said.

Kiplangat, who was not selected to the Ugandan squad for the recent world championships in Eugene, Oregon, was gushing with confidence after his victory.

“I believe I will be a great man like Joshua Cheptegei (Ugandan) and Eliud (Kenya) Kipchoge,” he said.

Cheptegei is the Olympic champion in the 5000m and two-time world title winner in the 10,000m while Kipchoge is a two-time Olympic champion in the marathon.

“We will continue to break records,” I say. “As long as we are healthy, anything is possible. I am still young and I continue to grow. I believe I can be even better.

Kenyan Michael Githae won the bronze medal, more than two minutes behind the winner.

For Githae – winner of the last Fukuoka marathon last December – the joy was even greater because he had been called up late to the team.

“I was still mentally prepared despite the late call,” he said. “I took on a lot of challenges from top to bottom. It was a very tough course.

“It’s one of the best achievements of my career.”

Long-time trailblazer Liam Adams of Australia put up a valiant effort to give his country its third consecutive victory in the event, but had to settle for fourth place.

– with AFP

Originally published as ‘No no no’: Chaos as Comm Games marathon leader takes wrong turn