The lack of quality facilities set up purposely for sport bites Uganda in many ways each year. Whereas the country misses out on hosting key continental or global events, it pierces sportsmen most with athletes now reeling.
Yesterday, Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) called off the First National Track and Field Trials because of lack of a venue.
The event had been scheduled for Saturday originally at Namboole Stadium or Kyambogo University’s grass track.
But the unavailability of both venues means that runners and other field event athletes cannot get the year underway competitively yet.
“The Uganda government has taken over both facilities temporarily in national interest turning Namboole Stadium a holding health facility for Covid-19 patients and Kyambogo, a national voting tally centre for the Electoral Commission,” read part of a press brief by UAF’s Namayo Mawerere.
“The federation regrets the sad decision but given the situation and national interest, it wasn’t really a preferred option as preparation for Tokyo Olympics 2020 and other international competitions start in earnest,” Mawerere said.
The cancelled competition would have been the 2021 season opener since the outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic last year.
“UAF however assures the athletics fraternity of making efforts to secure a venue and reach a ‘new normal’ for the subsequent competitions which include the second Trials due February 6,” added Mawerere.
Athletics is the discipline which has most individuals qualified for the forthcoming Olympic Games with 19 of Team Uganda’s 21 all runners. They are led by global icon Joshua Cheptegei.
ATHLETES FOR OLYMPICS
Women: Halima Nakaayi (800m), Winnie Nanyondo (800m & 1500m), Peruth Chemutai (3000m steeplechase), Stella Chesang & Sarah Chelangat (5000m), Juliet Chekwel (Marathon) Men: Ronald Musagala (1500m), Albert Chemutai (3000m Steeplechase), Stephen Kissa (5000m), Joshua Cheptegei & Abdallah Mande (10000m), *Fred Musobo, *Stephen Kiprotich, *Solomon Mutai, *Felix Chemonges, *Geoffrey Kusuro, *Jackson Kiprop & *Robert Chemonges (*All Marathon)