Friday February 21 2014

Government waives visa fees for cross-country athletes

Moses Kipsiro (R) storms to the front before breaking away to win the National Cross-country Championships in Jinja.

Moses Kipsiro (R) storms to the front before breaking away to win the National Cross-country Championships in Jinja on February 1. PHOTO BY ISMAIL KEZAALA. 



It is now less than a month before Uganda hosts the third edition of the Africa Cross-Country Championships.

Already, organisers under local body Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) seem to be on the right track in the run-up to the March 16 event slated for Kololo Airstrip. This comes after the government, through the Ministry of Internal Affairs, waived visa fees for the foreign runners set to take part in the continental event.

“We don’t have Ugandan embassies in all participating member countries to channel visas to their athletes,” UAF general secretary Beatrice Ayikoru told Daily Monitor in an interview yesterday. “So we (UAF) sought for government intervention through the Internal Affairs ministry recently and we are grateful for their quick response.”

UAF received a letter waiving the visa fees worth $50 (Shs123,000) each from the ministry’s Permanent Secretary Stephen Kagoda last week.

An estimated 300 runners who are expected from over 20 countries will now receive free grant visas on arrival here next month. The move keeps Uganda in line with other countries which have hosted continental events before.

“Normally, travelling contingents are relieved of such extra costs which give participating countries a chance to send many athletes,” Ayikoru said. “Last year, we did not pay for visas at the Africa Junior Championships and the same at 2012 Africa Senior Athletics tourney in Benin.”

“Also, this timely government support gives a key spine in helping UAF bid to host the 2017 World Cross Country Championships,” the former long distance runner added. Meanwhile, the available grant visas are only going to cater this event and not the upcoming 19th World University Cross Country event due March 22 at Entebbe Golf Course.

1. Moses Kipsiro Ndiema (Elgon)
2. Daniel Rotich (Standard)
3. Moses Kibet (Arua)
4. Isaac Ayeko (Elgon)
5. Thomas Ayeko (Elgon)
6. Peter Kibet (Police)
7. Timothy Toroitich (Elgon)
8. Ronald Musagala (UWA)
9. Ben Siwa (Police)
10. Nathan Ayeko (Alpha)
11. Solomon Mutai (Arua)
12. Geoffrey Kusuro (Arua)
13. Phillip Kiplimo (Prisons)
* Six runners will make the final team