New sports minister Hamson Obua has tasked the national boxing team to go forget their inadequate preparations and go for gold at the African Olympic Qualifiers beginning Thursday.
The Bombers resided in Luzira Prison for three weeks. Obua visited them last week, and in his lively speech, before flagging off the team at Cooper Chimney Restaurant Friday afternoon, he first acknowledged the wanting circumstances in the camp:
“I was there, I saw it all, where you were sleeping, where you were eating from, where you were training from. We thank Luzira Prison but going forward the Bombers deserve better.”
The remark was met with loud applause from especially the boxers.
The minister then challenged the Bombers: “The country expects first class performance from you and that’s gold. Silver and bronze should be last resorts.”
He added: “Your mind must be ringing ‘gold medal’ and even if you didn’t have enough power training, you won’t know where you will get the extra power to defeat the opponent.”
Obua referred to himself, when he was the captain of the Parliamentary football team, yet the organiser in the Inter parliamentary Games last year. “First, I had the excuse that I hadn’t prepared well. But I had to play for my team anyway, so when I decided to play with the right mind, I manned defensive and attacking midfield and I was voted man of the match.”
He also invoked 2 Samuel 2:14: “Now let the young men arise and hold a contest before us.” And Joab said, “Let them arise.”
Obua substantiated: “The Bombers arise, contest and qualify for the Olympics.”
He also counseled those who might fail in the Olympic pursuit. “Not all of you are going to win medals, we should be fair to ourselves. If you get the opportunity use it to your best, and to those who will get the medals, we shall say Asanteni sana.
But to those who will fail, falling isn’t the matter. The matter is how you rise. If you fall in Senegal, don’t be dejected. Rise with hope to be stronger and better in future competitions.”
Thirteen boxers [eight men, five women] and four coaches travelled aboard Ethiopian Airlines Flight 339 and are expected in Dakar tomorrow.
Only 22 Olympic slots are available for African men in the Dakar rally. In six of the men’s eight weight categories only the top three boxers will qualify for Tokyo. In the heavyweight and super heavyweight, only the top two shall qualify.
In the women’s there are only 11 slots. In the flyweight the top three qualify, while in the other four weights only the top two advance.
In 2016, Uganda sent 10 boxers to the Olympic Qualifiers in Yaoundé, Cameroon, but only the Sweden-based pair of Ronald Serugo and Kennedy Katende qualified for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Both qualified through the third-place box-off after losing semifinals. This is the first time Uganda sends a full men’s and women’s team to any boxing tournament. The onus is to make those numbers count.
DUE FOR DAKAR
Disan Mubiru (52kg)
Yasin Adinan (63kg)
Musa Shadir (69kg)
David Ssemuju (75kg)
Joshua Male (81kg)
Alex Bwambale (91kg)
Solomon Geko (+91kg)
Catherine Nanziri (51kg)
Emilly Nakalema (69kg)
Suzan Akelo (57kg)
Rebecca Amongin (60kg)
Doreen Nassali (75kg)