Musagala to join Cheptegei for SA athletics series

Uganda’s middle-distance runner Ronald Musagala will take part in two meetings of the inaugural ASA Athletix Grand Prix Series. Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Uganda's Ronald Musagala is the latest internationally-acclaimed athlete confirmed for the inaugural ASA Athletix Grand Prix Series.

Musagala will take part in two of the three meetings, with his name down to run the 1500m on Thursday, 1 March at Ruimsig Stadium in Johannesburg before tackling the 3000m exactly a week later at the Bestmed TuksAthletics Stadium in Pretoria.

Musagala will line up against a familiar face during his appearances at the series namely Joshua Cheptegei, his countryman and the 2018 World Championship 10 000m silver medallist.

With a best of 3:33.65 in the three and three quarter lap race (also the national record of Uganda), Musagala on paper has the edge over Cheptegei who has only run the 1500m once, setting a time of 3:37.82.

Furthermore, the 25-year-old is in good form, having anchored his regional team to a win in the team relay at the Ugandan National Cross Country Championships.

"That was a great moment for me, especially as it was held in the region I call home," says Musagala in an event press released. "I felt really good and know that this means that come 1 March, I will be in great shape for the 1500m."

Musagala is also excited at the prospect of facing his countryman: "Josh (Joshua Cheptegei) is very popular in Uganda and has done very well, but the 1500m is my speciality distance and Josh will need to run on my terms. So I am really looking forward to the race."

A week later, in Pretoria, it will be a different story for Musagala though. He rarely competes in races beyond 1500m so the 3000m will see him entering Cheptegei's territory.

"My focus is the 1500m. Josh is more of a 5000m/10 000m athlete, but can run fast over the 3000m too. He has run 7:34 before. I have only done two 5000m races and never a 3000m race. I have more leg speed than him so we should have a really good battle over what we could call middle ground."

Of course, with some top athletes being recruited for the inaugural ASA Athletix Grand Prix Series it can't be discounted that the best from South Africa will also have extra motivation to perform beyond their previous bests.

It's for that reason that Musagala knows not to focus too much on just one rival.

"South Africa has some really good middle distance athletes and if I end up watching only Josh, this could cost me dearly."