Sports in Uganda was greatly hit by the coronavirus pandemic but if anything, the attention it has recently drawn from President Yoweri Museveni could be the most it needs to recover.
Museveni, who often says, was a sportsman in his heyday, gave a hint of the sports sector resuming activity after a five-month lull with a couple of tweets that thrilled the fraternity on Thursday.
“On Covid-19 Pandemic: I welcome the positive suggestions like the idea of sports without audiences that have been tried in other countries of Europe. However, all this must be subsidiary to life,” read the first tweet in part.
“Any activity that can be opened safely, with SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures), will be opened. I am one of the people most interested in the good economic performance. However economic performance should never be more important than lives,” he added.
Museveni’s tweets were welcomed by sportsmen particularly by athletes who had already made the cut to Tokyo Olympic Games .
“First of all, I will thank His Excellency for that great idea and thinking about sports men and women at large,” said Bombers’ skipper Musa Shadir.
“That interestingly shows that even sports are thought about and still it will prove and reduce idleness amongst the youth. On my part I am looking at bouncing back stronger with my training regime,” added the welterweight boxer.
The pugilist was set to have his Olympic debut and could have possibly been joined by a few more but the global boxing Olympic qualifier was also postponed.
SOPs for sports were formulated by federations in partnership with the National Council of Sports (NCS), Uganda Olympic Committee, Ministry of Education and Sports and were later passed to the Ministry of Health and Covid-19 Task Force.
For resumption to take place, sports disciplines were classified into low, medium and high risk mainly depending on the level of contact and any sharing of equipment in line with social distancing, hygiene and hand sanitizing.
Selected high risk
Football, Rugby, Basketball, Netball, Boxing, Taekwondo
Selected medium risk
Cricket, Chess, Table tennis
Lawn tennis, Badminton
Selected low risk
Golf, Motorsport, Swimming
• Public health hygiene.
• Rubber gloves for team staff.
• Towels for single use.
• Water bottle for each player.
• Isolation/quarantine spaces.
• Routine disinfection of venue
• Medical masks.