Golden Athletes(Photo combo): Stella Chesanga (L) and Moses Kipsiro have their legacy intact after winning 10000m gold in 2018 and 2014 respectively. FILE  PHOTOS / AFP


68 years, 55 medals: Uganda’s swansong

What you need to know:

  • Of Uganda’s 55 medals, 21 have come from athletics and the other 34 from boxing. Athletics started with delivering silver through high jumper Peter Etolu on Uganda’s debut appearance in 1954.

Sixty eight years of Commonwealth Games (CWG) history! Fifteen editions – having missed 1978 and 1986 due to political turmoil in the country.

 Fifty five medals from two disciplines of athletics and boxing: 16 gold medals, 16 pieces of silver and 23 bronze medals – and at least one at each of the 15 appearances.

 That in a nutshell is Uganda’s success at the CWG, whose 22nd edition opens tonight at Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, England.

 The inference is simply that the Commonwealth Games always offer the Pearl of Africa something and that tradition is expected to continue.

 Beating the nine medal haul of 1974 or the seven from 1970 or even the six from 2018 and 1962 is not simple with world 10,000m champion Joshua Cheptegei a major doubt due to injury but many Ugandan athletes have always found a way to shine at these Games.

 There have been tough outings like Delhi 2010 and Kuala Lumpur 1998 saved by the lone efforts of double (10,000m and 5,000m) athletics gold medallist Moses Kipsiro and boxing flyweight bronze medallist Jackson Asiku respectively.

The breakdown

Of Uganda’s 55 medals, 21 have come from athletics and the other 34 from boxing. Athletics started with delivering silver through high jumper Peter Etolu on Uganda’s debut appearance in 1954.

 Eight years later, Benson Ishiepai and Amos Omolo delivered bronze each in the 440 yards hurdles and 440 yards race respectively while Judith Ayaa became the first female athlete to deliver a medal in 1970.

 In 2006, steeplechaser Dorcus Inzikuru won Uganda its first athletics gold medal and the sport has delivered that medal at every CWG since then through long distance events.

Boxing have only missed a podium finish once, in 2010, since welterweight Thomas Kawere’s 1958 silver. Both sports are split at eight gold medals each although boxing’s last came in 1990 through light flyweight Justin Juuko and lightweight Godfrey Nyakana in 1990. There is yet to be a medal for Uganda from any another sport. But can that history change?

Hope springs eternal

“Our dream right now is to deliver a medal from one of the other disciplines,” chef de mission Moses Mwase, who leads 12 disciplines to Birmingham tonight, said.

“A netball podium would be the proper fairytale story but we would need to heavily upset odds as we are ranked sixth in the world and second in Africa with Malawi breathing down our heels.

In my own analysis, para-powerlifting is closer than they any other sport but everything has to go according to plan,” Mwase said.

Tonight, the athletes will take care of opening ceremony where Uganda hope to shine among the brightest in the usual traditional kikooyi and kanzu. After that hope springs eternal for another sport to lift the flag at the podium – but what is for sure, at some point one of athletics or boxing or perhaps both will continue to deliver.


1954: Peter Etolu
Athletics (high jump) silver
1958: Thomas Kawere – Boxing (welterweight) silver
1962: George Oywello – Boxing (heavyweight) gold
Kesi Odongo – Boxing (lightweight) silver
 J. Ssentongo – Boxing (bantamweight) bronze
Francis Nyangweso – Boxing (light middleweight) bronze
Benson Ishiepai – Athletics (440 yards hurdles) bronze
Amos Omolo – Athletics (440 yards) bronze
1966: Alex Odhiambo – Boxing (light welterweight) bronze
Matthias Ouma – Boxing (middleweight) bronze
Benson Ochan – Boxing (heavyweight) bronze
1970: James Odwori – Boxing (light flyweight) gold Mohamed Muruli – Boxing (light welterweight) gold
Benson Masanda – Boxing (heavyweight) gold
Leo Rwabogo – Boxing (flyweight) silver
Deogratias Musoke – Boxing (featherweight) silver
William Koskei – Athletics (400m hurdles) silver
Judith Ayaa – Athletics (400m) bronze


1974:   Ayub Kalule – Boxing (lightweight) gold  

Mohamed Muruli – Boxing (welterweight) gold

James Odwori – Boxing (light flyweight) silver                      

Ali Rwojo – Boxing (bantamweight) silver                    

Shadrack Odhiambo – Boxing (featherweight) silver                      

Silver Ayoo – Athletics (400m) silver

Pius Olowu, William Dralu, Samuel Kakonge,

Ayoo – Athletics (4*400m relay) bronze  

John Byaruhanga – Boxing (flyweight) bronze

Benson Masanda – Boxing (heavyweight) bronze 1982:  

Jonathan Kirisa – Boxing (light heavyweight) silver                  

 Peter Rwamuhanda – Athletics (400m hurdles) silver

Ruth Kyalisima – Athletics (400m hurdles) silver                

1990: Justin Juuko – Boxing (light flyweight) gold        

Godfrey Nyakana – Boxing (lightweight) gold                  

Charles Matata – Boxing (middleweight) bronze

Abdu Kaddu – Boxing (light heavyweight) bronze                      
1994:   Fred Muteweta – Boxing (bantamweight) bronze                      

Charles Kizza – Boxing (heavyweight) bronze

1998:   Jackson Asiku – Boxing
(flyweight) bronze

2002:   Mohammed Kayongo –Boxing
(light welterweight) silver, Joseph
Lubega – Boxing (l.heavyweight) silver 

2006: Dorcus Inzikuru – Athletics 
(3000m steeplechase) gold, Boniface
Kiprop- Athletics (10,000m) gold,
Martin Mubiru – Boxing (flyweight)

2010: Moses Kipsiro – Athletics
(10,000m and 5,000m) gold

2014:   Moses. Kipsiro – Athletics
(10,000m) gold, Abraham Kiplimo –
Athletics (marathon) bronze, Winnie
Nanyondo – Athletics (800m) bronze,
Mike Ssekabembe – Boxing, Fazil
Juma Kaggwa – Boxing (light
flyweight) bronze

2018:   Joshua Cheptegei – Athletics 
(10,000m and 5,000m) gold, Stella
Chesang – Athletics (10,000m) 
gold, Solomon Mutai – Athletics
(marathon) silver, Mercyline
Chelangat – Athletics (10,000m)
bronze, Juma Miiro – Boxing (light
flyweight bronze