2021: Four-star Uganda

Star Attractions. (L-R); Wainwright, Cheptegei, Nakalembe and Onyango. PHOTOS/EDDIE CHICCO & JOHN BATANUDDE

What you need to know:

  • Numbers Game. Uganda salvaged pride from several sporting disciplines particularly the Olympics. There were as many highs and lows for the country’s sportsmen and fans, writes Darren Allan Kyeyune

1. PERUTH CHEMUTAI

She became the first-ever female Ugandan to step onto the podium in any sport at the Olympics after she powered to 3,000m steeplechase gold in a national record time of nine minutes and 1.45 seconds during the Tokyo 2020 Games in Japan.

2. JOSHUA CHEPTEGEI

He yet again found a new place in the nation’s history by becoming the first Ugandan to win more than a medal at the same Olympics’ edition. He sealed his legacy as the country’s greatest athlete ever by winning 10,000m silver and 5,000m gold medals in Tokyo.

3. JACOB KIPLIMO 

10,000m Olympic bronze medalist Jacob Kiplimo wrapped up 2021 with a 21km World Record (WR) after winning the Lisbon Half-Marathon in Portugal on November 21. He became the third Ugandan to hold a WR in athletics, after John Akii-Bua and Cheptegei with a time of 57 minutes and 31 seconds.

6. SILVERBACKS

The senior men’s basketball team - Silverbacks - overcame financial woes to power to sixth place at the Afrobasket. Spurred by Phoenix Suns player Ishmail Wainright, the Silverbacks won two matches including a memorable 80-68 win over Nigeria.

7.  EXPRESS FC

With club chairman Kiryowa Kiwanuka creating structures, Express clinched their first Uganda Premier League title since 2012 thanks to forward Eric Kambale who fired 15 goals, to help coach Wasswa Bbosa’s side to a seventh league crown.

8. IRENE NAKALEMBE

She ended her eight-year wait for the Uganda Ladies Golf Open title by holding off Kenyan challenger Mercy Nyanchama. She won the 71st edition by three shots at her home club.

15. BABY CRICKET CRANES

The U-19 team ended a 15-year wait to seal a third ticket to the ICC Youth World Cup after winning the regional qualifiers in Rwanda back in September. They had last featured at the 2006 edition in Sri Lanka under coach Sam Walusimbi’s guise.

26.KATHLEEN GRACE NOBLE

She was the country’s first rower ever for Uganda at the Olympic Games and gave her best to finish 26th overall in the women’s single sculls category.

36.  HISTORY

By winning four medals at the Tokyo 2020 Games, it marked Uganda’s best performance ever in Olympic history. Uganda tied with Greece in 36th position on the medal table with two gold medals, a silver and a bronze.

52. BIG DEBUT 

The Hippos gave Uganda a great football advert by winning silver at the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations in Mauritania. Coach Morley Byekwaso’s charges lost 2-0 to Ghana in the final but finished with a total of 52 goals. Of these, Hippos’ striker Derrick Kakooza emerged as the top-scorer with five goals.

69. RUGBY CRANES

They scored a collated 69 points to top Pool C following a 53-12 win over Ghana and a 16-22 loss to Algeria at Kyadondo in July to set up a quarterfinal duel against Group B runners-up Kenya in the qualification route to the 2023 Rugby World Cup for Africa.

79. DENIS ONYANGO

After missing out on Afcon, Uganda Cranes’ skipper Denis Onyango retired from international duty in April after amassing 79 caps since his debut against Cape Verde in 2005.

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