Dear Mr President

Sunday April 15 2018

Dear Mr President

Golden: Cheptegei celebrates winning a medal for Uganda at Commonwealth games in Australia recently 

By Amos Wekesa

I hope my article finds you fine this morning and yes, thank you so much for flagging off the Ugandan team which has done us proud in Australia where the common wealth games are happening now.
A President is a father of a nation and a father’s support of his people makes a very big difference especially when it comes to confidence building.

Anyway, why write to you this morning? Please do it differently this time around when our winners come back. Let us not give them small money plus some promises because we all know that is not sustainable. Many sports personalities have hustled on their own and won medals for both Uganda and themselves in a scattered way. We have sung praises only for them to end up in poverty somewhere.
Mr President this should inspire us to simply select a few core areas in sports and properly invest not only cash but make sure competent managers run the show.

Athletics is clearly standing out for us now and I am saying this because we have not invested in it as a country but have had very many surprises. As you control the national resources I have chosen to write to you, Mr President.
Government should set up a proper athletic training centre and a well managed four-star hotel in the area of Mountain Elgon.
Additionally, there should be a primary and secondary school where children with athletic talent are able to study for free but who are properly selected on merit.

Mr President, we then embark on marketing that well managed centre across the globe to attract young people from around the world who are aspiring runners who will pay to train with our champions and this will in turn sustain that centre of excellence. This will create a stable way for champions to earn a living. Through that, our champions will be champions for a much longer time like those of Kenya have been because they will have a sustainable training opportunities.

America for example, has over 21 million marathoners, a market which we can ably tap into with a proper aligned strategy.
If we attracted say 50.000 runners a year and each spent $2000 in Uganda, we would earn $100m and this will be earned through the food eaten, transport, accommodation, internet use, crafts buying plus they visit our attractions before they return home and all that is money.
Mr President, in UK the sports and tourism are in the same docket and both earn them over $100b a year plus image building them as a country.
Our neighbours Kenya have marketed themselves through athletics and the 18 PR firms they have deployed across the world. In a capitalistic world, image is everything and that is why every country tries so hard to safeguard their image.

Uganda Cranes are the only football team I watch playing football in this world and I have observed the highest level of patriotism before, during and after the every football game involving Uganda and another country. Ugandans clearly need something new to unite them and nothing can do that such as sports and here I have not even talked about the commercial benefit especially to the young who vend all sorts of stuff during every football game.

Mr President every successful country in the world focuses on a few that attract the world’s attention. Think about Kenya, they are known for their tourism and athletics. Korea is known for Hyundai and Samsung.
Spain is known for football and tourism. Uganda can be known for both tourism and athletics as well if we decide now to act. Mr President I’m more than willing as a person to give my time, especially when it comes to the positioning of Uganda in those two areas. I have many connections we can tap into in order to achieve that sir.
The writer is an investment expert
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