Uganda’s African medalists to miss World Championship

Wednesday September 4 2019

Silver medallist Masembe  was welcomed back by

Silver medallist Masembe was welcomed back by his mother. PHOTO BY ISMAIL KEZAALA 


BOXING: Isaac Masembe (Featherweight
Silver), David Ssemujju (Middleweight Silver)
Hellen Baleke (women’s Middleweight
ATHLETICS: Halimah Nakaayi (800m
Bronze), Women’s 4 X 400m Bronze
CHESS: Harold Wanyama (Rapid Individual
BADMINTON: Women’s Doubles bronze
(Gladys Mbabazi & Aisha Nakiyemba)
WEIGHTLIFTING: Zubairi Kubo (3 Men’s
96kg bronze)

After scooping medals at the 2019 African Games, any athlete would be itching to continue the run to success at an even higher level. Ironically, most of Uganda’s medalists in Rabat will wait a little longer for another major event because they will miss their respective world championships this month.
Featherweight boxer Isaac Masembe, middleweight David Ssemuju, who bagged historic silver medals, Uganda’s first in 20 years, and Hellen Baleke (women’s middleweight bronze medalist) will miss the Aiba World Boxing Championship in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
The championship begin this weekend but Isaac ‘Zebra’ Ssenyange, who was the camp manager of the Bombers, ahead of Rabat, said there was no time and resources to prepare a team for Russia. The trio and their colleagues who did not make it to Rabat, have missed the chance to test their work against the world’s best, ahead of Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“The deadline was tight for us, moreover with inadequate resources,” Ssenyange told Daily Monitor. “We have no major tournament, for now. Serious business will resume with the preparations for Olympic qualifiers, because the process is going to be longer.”
The same applies for Stella Wonkuru, Nasiba Nabirye, Emily Nanziri and Shida Leni, who scooped a historic 4x400m bronze behind Nigeria and Botswana at Olympic Stadium in Rabat.
The sprinting quartet will miss the World Athletics Championships in Doha later this month because they are not among the top ranked 16 teams in the world.
The top 10 teams at the World Relays in Yokohama, Japan in May are the ones that qualified for Doha plus the six ranked teams after the Yokohama event. But Uganda finished 19th yet the time of 3:32.25 Leni and co. ran in Rabat, is ranked 56th in 2019, too far from Doha.

Eyeing action
Weightlifter Zubairi Kubo, who scooped a bronze hat-trick in Rabat, already qualified for the 2020 Olympics. He will only be eyeing more points at the World Weightlifting Championship in Pattaya, Thailand due September 16-25.
Likewise Halimah Nakaayi, who scooped 800m bronze in Rabat, will be one of the faces to watch over the two-lap race in Doha, especially with reigning world champion South African Caster Semenya ineligible to compete.
With a growing medal cabinet, Nakaayi will have mojo to contest against American Wilson Ajee, Jamaican Nataya Goule and Britons Laura Muir and Lynsey Sharp.