Expectant Musevenis flag off US, UK-bound teams

Go mine medals. President Museveni hands over the National Flag to swimmer Kirabo Namutebi. PHOTO / ISMAIL KEZAALA

What you need to know:

  • They both spoke in high spirits as they flagged two teams to the forthcoming World Athletics Championships in Oregon-US, and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, UK.

Sport has for long decried low funding from the government. But the sub-sector reaped big in the current financial year with its pool rising from Shs17b to Shs47b.

In so doing, President Museveni and his wife Education and Sports minister Janet feel they have done their part.

They both spoke in high spirits as they flagged two teams to the forthcoming World Athletics Championships in Oregon-US, and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, UK.

“Our hope now is that with increased government funding in this financial year, we expect more from our athletes,”


First Lady Janet Museveni remarked as athletics from 12 different disciplines.

Mrs Museveni drew from the scriptures to equate their expectations, citing Luke 12:48: “To whom much has been given, much is expected.”

The World Championships starts Friday in Oregon while the Commonwealth Games are due in a fortnight.

Last year, Uganda won four medals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in Japan with Joshua Cheptegei scooping 10000m silver and 5000m gold and Peruth Chemutai the 3000m steeplechase gold.

Jacob Kiplimo got bronze over the 10000m too to cap Uganda’s best show in Olympic history. However, Team Uganda had to contend with bad PR after weightlifter Julius Ssekitoleko attempted to vanish within the Asian nation.

Discipline

Now, President Museveni largely tipped athletes during his speech.

“Whenever I get a chance to speak about sports, I always tell you the advantages,” said Museveni. “Sports are good for fitness. Sports builds character, I have told you that before. Part of the character is not giving up.

“You need discipline to guard that talent. Once you cover those areas, the other one is the realisation that the body is capable of big achievements,” added Museveni, a man who often reminds the public that he was a sportsman.

Museveni later handed the flag to Cheptegei, who will bid to defend his 10000m world title at the Hayward Field in Eugene in five days.

The Rugby 7s Cranes and She Cranes also received the flag ahead of business in Birmingham.

Uganda Olympic Committee president Donald Rukare trusts that the contingent of nine disciplines to Birmingham will scale the heights. “We promise that in Birmingham we are going to exceed our previous performances,” he said.

Uganda won two medals; Cheptegei’s 10000m gold and Halimah Nakaayi’s 800m gold at the previous World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, three years ago. At the previous Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia four years ago, Uganda won six medals.

The Oregon-bound team is scheduled to depart tonight.

Team to Oregon Worlds

Women

Halimah Nakaayi               800m

Winnie Nanyondo           1500m

Peruth Chemutai             3000m SCS

Esther Chebet   5000m

Mercyline Chelangat      10000m

Stella Chesang   10000m

Immaculate Chemutai   Marathon

Men

Tarsis Orogot     200m

Ronald Musagala              1500m

Peter Maru         5000m

Oscar Chelimo   5000m

Jacob Kiplimo     10000m

Stephen Kissa    10000m

Joshua Cheptegei            5000m, 10000m

Filex Chemonges             Marathon

Fred Musobo     Marathon

Jackson Kiprop  Marathon

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