Glasgow- He came here as one of the country’s medal prospects. Boxing officials praised his discipline, skills and focus.
But Rogers Ssemitala will play no further part in the Commonwealth Games after he lost to Sri Lankan Anurudha Rathnayake yesterday.
All three judges called the lightweight contest in favour of the Sri Lankan.
Ssemitala is only 19 but the Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF) picked him as captain of the five-man Bombers squad.
They singled out his discipline as the best attribute for a captain.
He had been doing the job very well until last week when weight problems got the better of him. But he still shook that off and losing at the first hurdle was the least everyone expected from him.
During a fierce exchange with Rathnayake in the first round, Ssemitala lost his left glove in the ring and the fight had to be temporarily stopped in an incident that got everyone in the arena giggling.
Losing gum shields is normal but dropping gloves in boxing is very unusual.
“I can’t tell you what went wrong,” Ssemitala said after the loss. “But this is a game. There is always a loser and winner. It wasn’t my day.” After the captain’s elimination, Nasir Bashir (bantam weight) and Fazil Juma (light fly) will hope to turn the tide when they enter the ring today.
Bashir, the KBC captain back home, is up against Tanzanian Patrick Emilian while Juma faces Zambian Lumbe Bwalya. On the track, Uganda will be represented by Emma Tugumisirize, Anthony Okiror and Ali Ngaimoko in the men’s 400m preliminaries.
National champion Denis Opio’s name was still missing on the start list by press time. Team officials said there was an error in the entries, which they were trying to fix.