KAMPALA. Tendo Mukalazi is an interesting inclusion in Uganda’s squad to the Fina World Championships due July 12-28 in Gwangju, South Korea.
His teammates Avice Meya, Selina Katumba and Atuhaire Ambala boast of variable degrees of international exposure but the Dolphins swimmer has bided his time.
Meya has been to every senior international event bar the Olympics while Katumba joined her at the Fina Short-course World Championships in China last year leaving with an enhanced reputation.
Ambala studies in Thailand while he was also at the Youth Commonwealth Games in Bahamas in 2017.
“For me it is not about whether I deserve to be selected but I have worked hard to be looked at,” Mukalazi told Daily Monitor back in May when he topped the 15 and over age category, for the second time, at the Uganda Swimming Federation (USF) National Swimming Gala.
His coach Muzafaru Muwanguzi, believes it is the right time for the teenager to start drafting his own international story.
“It’s not about topping the age group because you can do that by swimming many events to accumulate points but he has good times. At 16, he is at an age where most people are considered for senior national teams,” Muwanguzi explained.
The nationals were also a selection event for Korea, the August 20-25 Fina World Juniors in Hungary, August 21-24 All Africa Games in Morocco and the September 11-15 Cana Juniors in Tunisia. Mukalazi’s sister Kirabo Namutebi will be an exciting prospect in Hungary but Muwanguzi says her focus will be on the Cana Juniors that come about a fortnight later. She will be joined by Silverfin Acaemy’s Mercedes and her Dolphins teammates Adnan Kabuye and Darren Ssamula.
“We came up with selection criteria and we sat for over six weeks to exhaust them. We have tried to professional in every aspect and I believe we have put up very exciting teams,” Muwanguzi, who doubles as USF’s vice president technical, said.
Fifteen swimmers were selected for the All Africa Games but that will depend on government funding while parents of the 28 swimmers selected for the Tunisia are expected to foot the bills for that trip.
July 12-28: Fina World Champs, Gwangju: Avice Meya, Selina Katumba, Atuhaire Ambala, Tendo Mukalazi Coach: Peter Mugisha
August 20-25: Fina World Juniors, Budapest: Kirabo Namutebi, Adnan Kabuye, Darren Ssamula, Mercedes Mwebeiha, Coach: Muzafaru Muwanguzi
August 21-24: All Africa Games, Casablanca: Females: Avice Meya, Selina Katumba, Anthea Mudanye, Zara Nsubuga, Sinzi Nabatanzi, Rachael Galinda, Hannat Nakimuli Males: Atuhaire Ambala, Tendo Mukalazi, Adnan Kabuye, Darren Ssamula, Ben Kaganda, Raphael Musoke, Jacob Mugisha, Samora Byansi Coach: Abel Ddamulira
September 11-15: Cana Juniors, Tunis
13-14 Years, Girls: Kirabo Namutebi, Neema Kangi, Karla Mugisha, Swagia Mubiru, Mary Grace Banona, Brandy Nakimbugwe Boys: Paulsen Settumba, Steve Magera, Tendo Kaumi, Christian Musenze, Arthur Tayebwa, Robin Katumba.
15-16 Years, Girls: Mercedes Mwebeiha, Daya Mpeera Yalonda, Alexis Kituuka, Zara Nsubuga, Sinzi Nabatanzi, Ahura Ambala, Chiara Kagugube, Priscilla Erapu
Boys: Darren Ssamula, Ben Kaganda, Samora Lumonya, Raphael Musoke, Francesco Kagugube, Joshua Lumonya, Ampaire Namanya, Mikka Kigundu
Coach: Joseph Kabogoza