Pre-race favourite Jordan Ssekanwagi (Tropical Heat), lived up to his billing, when he raced at break-neck speed, steering clear of the leading pack and finishing first on 2:07 hrs in the Under 17 cycling race that was flagged off at Lugogo Bypass Sunday.
Controversy almost marred the event when officials of the Uganda Cycling Association, participants, club officials and fans alike, disagreed on some cyclists’ eligibility regarding age.
While some agreed with Adam Kalopa Ssali’s decision to eliminate some participants like defending champion Hussein Ssekanga, Mark Ntale and Alex Sabika—claiming they were overage—others, including the UCA president, Sam Muwonge opposed the ‘high-handedness’ of the competitions secretary.
When normalcy was restored close to two hours later, the three-pronged event kicked off with the women’s race, the U12 race before the U17 showdown in which Ssekanwagi exuded sheer stamina by maintaining his place among the leading pack and tactical acumen by reserving his energies for the ultimate lap of the 65km race.
Ssekanwagi, son of former Commonwealth cyclist David Matovu enjoyed the lion’s share of the crowds, who kept urging him on, singing ‘Jordan’ throughout. Charles Kagimu and Ntale both of Super Academy were second and third respectively.
Hadija Najjuko (Super Academy) won the ladies’ race followed by Kampala Cycling Club’s pair of Dutch Rene Miles and Marion Ayebare.