Judo: Uganda begins preps for Commonwealth Champs

Wednesday June 19 2019

Tango Science. Jean Mukangamo (R) and George

Tango Science. Jean Mukangamo (R) and George Ssekiwunga have to be in shape for the Commonwealth Championship. PHOTO BY ISMAIL KEZAALA 

By ABDUl-NASSER SSEMUGABI

If all goes to plan, five Ugandan judo players will grab the rare opportunity to share a mat with the cream of the world at the Commonwealth Judo Championships, in Wolverhampton, England in September.
Six Ugandan judokas won medals [including two gold] at the 12th East African Judo Championship in March in but only resumed training and trials in May since they got involved in a bus accident on their return from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
It will be the first time England hosts the Championship as an independent tournament, which was established in 1986. The other time Manchester hosted them as part of the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
David Katana, the general secretary of the Uganda Judo Association, said they have already secured tickets for two athletes, but “We are doing all we can to get resources for a team of eight—including five athletes, two coaches and a media person.” It will be Uganda’s first time to compete at the biennial competition, after missing out on the 2006 edition in northern Ireland, at the very last hour, due to lack of funds.
More than 1,000 athletes are expected at the 17th edition that will feature a broad range of categories, including juniors, seniors, veterans and visually impaired. Katana added: “It’s a great opportunity especially for our athletes to meet and compete with some of the best judokas in the world.”
The championship is part of the long-term plans to make judo a core sport in the Commonwealth Games from 2022, which will be hosted in Birmingham, another English city less than 20 miles from Wolverhampton.

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