Sixteen years later, Olympic Games jinx still hovers over Uganda

Saturday July 21 2012

Uganda Davis Kamoga (left) goes  shoulder to shoulder with American track legend Michael Johnson at the 1997 World Athletics Championships in Athens.

Kamoga (L) at the 1997 sixth World Championships in Athens, a year after winning bronze at the Olympics in Atlanta, US. FILE PHOTO 


Melbourne 1956
This was the first time Uganda took part in the Olympics with three athletes. Benjamin Nguda won his first round 100m heat but bowed out in the second round. In the 200m, he failed to progress beyond the first round. Patrick Etolu finished 12th, clearing 1.96 metres in high jump while Lawrence Ogwang failed to qualify for the long jump final. He was 20th after leaping over 14.72 metres in triple jump.

Rome 1960
Uganda presented 10 athletes but the campaign still ended medal less for the Pearl of Africa. Jean Baptiste Okello was fifth in the first semifinal heat of 110m hurdles after running 14.49 seconds.
Aggrey Awori had fallen out a stage earlier. The men’s 4x100m relay team, the second from Africa, did not qualify from the initial stages.

Tokyo 1964
The 1964 Summer Games were the first Olympics to be telecast internationally and to be held in Asia. Uganda did not feature on the medals table.
James Odongo Oduka, one of the 16 athletes fell out in 100m first round after finishing fourth with 10.9 seconds in heat 5. Irene Muyanga was last in second round (heat 1) of the 100m after clocking 12.0.

Muyanga also failed the 200m test, finishing fifth after running 27.6 in the first round. Both Awori and Erazmus Amukum did not reach the 200m semifinals. The 4x100m relay team did not make any significant progress.

Welterweight boxer Ernest Mabwa lost to eventual silver medallist Union of Soviet Socialist Republic’s (USSR) Ricardas Tamulis 5-0 in the quarterfinals. Another boxer Alex Odhiambo (21 years), Uganda’s youngest participant at the Games, lost to Egyptian Ahmed Hassan and Hungarian Janos Kadji at the round of 16 in the middleweight and lightweight categories. Light heavyweight Henry Mugwanya lost to German Juergen Schlegel in the last 16 too. In the heavyweight, George Oywello was knocked out in the first round by eventual champion USA’s Joe Frazier.

Mexico City 1968
The Mexico 1968 Summer Games saw boxers Eridadi Mukwanga and Leo Rwabwogo end Uganda’s quest for her first Olympic medals. Mukwanga, in the bantamweight category, was technically knocked out in the final against USSR’s Valerian Sokolov but secured silver.
Rwabwogo lost 3-2 to Polish Artur Olech in the flyweight semifinal. Due to the narrow loss, he took bronze owing to Servílio de Oliveira’s (Brazil) 5-0 loss against eventual gold winner Ricardo Delgado. The performance of the other nine participants wasn’t as impressive. Amos Amolo ran 10.50, finishing fourth in heat two of the first round but could not progress while William Dralu came seventh in heat five of the 200m opening round. As American Lee Evans set a record of 43.8, Amolo clocked 47.6, finishing last in the finals of the 400m.

Munich 1972
Uganda will remember the XX Olympiad as the most glamorous. John Akii-Bua set a new world record of 47.82 enroute to winning the 400m hurdles. Akii-Bua, the only African in the finals, had won all his heats prior to his memorable feat. Fulgence Kwabu was 59th out of 62 in the marathon after clocking 2:57:04.
It was more joy for Uganda as Rwabwogo grabbed silver in the flyweight class. He lost to Bulgarian Georgi Kostadinov 5-0 in the final. Rwabwogo is the only Ugandan to have won more than one medal in Olympics history. Uganda fielded a hockey team that finished 15th after four losses and three draws. They only defeated Malaysia 4-1.

Montreal 1976
Uganda was among the 28 countries that shunned the Canada Games.
The boycott was due to the refusal of IOC to ban New Zealand, after the New Zealand national rugby union team had toured South Africa earlier the year. South Africa had been banned since 1964 due to its apartheid.

Moscow 1980
John ‘The Beast’ Mugabi, one of the five Ugandan boxers at the Games, won silver after losing to Cuban Andres Aldama 4-1 on points in the final of the welterweight category. Justin Arop threw over 77.34m as he finished 12th in the final of the javelin. Akii-Bua failed to advance after clocking 51.10 in the semifinal heat of the 400m hurdles.
Pius Olowo, Charles Dramiga, Silver Ayoo and Akii-Bua did not make the 4x400m relay final.

Los Angeles 1984
Daniel Mulumba became the first Ugandan swimmer to grace the Olympic Games. He clocked 1:07.86 in the 100m freestyle round one but did not advance.
Vincent Ruguga finished 29th in the marathon after posting 2:17:54 while Wilaon Achia did not finish.
The 4x400m relay team (John Goville, Moses Kyeswa, Peter Rwamuhanda and Mike Okot) finished seventh in the finals in 3.02.09. This was a new national record.
Okot and Kyeswa had earlier failed to advance in the 400m flat race. Ruth Kyalisima, one of the 26 participants set a new national record (57.02) but she failed to progress in the 400m hurdles.

Seoul 1988
Benjamin Longiross finished 62nd in the marathon, coming one place ahead of Ruguga while Jackson Ogwang settled for 92nd. Light flyweight Fred Mutuweta lost 5-0 to Irish boxer Wayne McCullough in the second round. Oliver Acii, Grace Buzu, Faridah Kyakutema, and Ruth Kyalisiima clocked 46.55 but did not advance in the 4x100m women’s relay. Arop’s 69.10m did not help him advance to the javelin throw final.

Barcelona 1992
This was two decades since Akii-Bua had stunned the world in Munich. Joel Otim and Edith Nakiyingi did not progress in the 100m and 800m respectively. Micheal Lopeyok was 82nd in the marathon after posting 2:42:54.

Atlanta 1996
Sprinter Davis Kamoga won bronze in the 400m, Uganda’s sixth medal and last, in the history of the Games.
He clocked 44.53 seconds in lane two. The race was won by American Micheal Johnson, who posted a then world record of 43.49 seconds.
Francis Ogola did not complete in the heats. Weightlifter Ali Kavuma took 19th place in the heavyweight category (260.0kg). Heavyweight boxer Charles Kizza lost 10-7 to Chinese Tao Jiang in the second round. Paul Mutambuze and the pair Nadunga Kyakobye and Mary Musoke didn’t go past the first hurdle in table tennis singles. The latter two also lost at the first round in the doubles.

Sydney 2000
Musoke returned to the Olympics but her performance did not get any better.
Kamoga clocked 45.74 in round two of the 400m but failed to advance. Alex Malinga finished 57th in the marathon, posting 2:24:53. Boxers Jackson Asiku (flyweight), Abdu Tebazalwa (bantamweight) and Kassim Napa Adam (featherweight) did not exceed the first round. The swimmers too Joe Atuhaire (100m breaststroke) and Supra Shingal (women’s 100m freestyle) failed to go past the preliminary heats.

Athens 2004
Only Boniface Kiprop came close to winning a medal in Athens. He finished fourth in 10000m, ahead of Ethiopian Haile Gerbrselassie after running a season best of 27:25.48. Wilson Kipkemei came 11th. In the women’s 5000m, Dorcus Inzikuru failed to reach the finals and finished 24th overall. Paskwar Owor finished 47th overall in the 800m. Of the five boxers, only Sam Rukundo (lightweight) exceeded the round of 32.
He defeated Moroccan Tahar Tamsamani 30-22 and Puerto Rican Alexander de Jesus 24-22 before bowing out to Russian Murat Khrachev 31-18 in the last eight. Jolly Katongole (light flyweight), John Lubega (middleweight), Sadat Tebazalwa (welterweight) and Brian Mayanja (featherweight) all failed to progress.
Irene Ajambo, Uganda’s only weightlifter at the Games, had the lowest total across the entire sport, regardless of weight class, but still managed to surpass her listed entry total of 140.0kg She finished ninth overall with 150.0 kg (60.0 kg Snatch, 90.0kg Clean & Jerk).

Beijing 2008
There were 43 new world records and 132 new Olympic records set at the 2008 Summer Olympics. An unprecedented 86 countries won at least a medal during the games.
For Uganda, Moses Kipsiro missed the podium in the 5000m. He clocked 13:10.56, finishing fourth behind bronze winner Kenyan Edwin Cheruyiot. Geoffrey Kusuro finished 11th, falling out in heat one. Kiprop finished tenth in the 10000m finals. In the men’s 800m, Abraham Chepkirwok finished seventh in semifinal heat three after clocking 1:49.16. Badminton flag bearer Edwin Ekiring lost to South Korean Park Sung-hwan 21-5, 21-8 at the last 32 stage. 50m freestyle swimmers Aya Nakitanda and Gilbert Kaburu came 66th and 82nd.

Team uganda to 2012 games

Ganzi Mugula (swimming – captain)
Jamila Lunkuse (swimming)
Edwin Ekiring (badminton)
Charles Ssekyaaya (weightlifting)
Abraham Kiplimo (5000m)
Thomas Ayeko (5000m)
Moses Kipsiro (5000m)
Geoffrey Kusuro (5000m)
Dorcus Inzikuru (3000m steeplechase)
Jane Suuto (marathon)
Stephen Kiprotich (marathon)
Benjamin Kiplagat (3000m steeplechase)
Jacob Araptany (3000m steeplechase)
Janet Achola (1500m)
Annet Negesa (800m)
Julius Mutekanga (800m)