Uspa: Chep leads stars

Dominant Athletes. (L-R) Chemutai, Cheptegei and Kiplimo picked up monumental awards for Uganda last year. PHOTOS/ISMAIL KEZAALA

What you need to know:

  • Worthy Wait. Uspa president Patrick Kanyomozi noted that although the awards have been delayed, it is worth celebrating achievers of different sports. 

The 2022 Nile Special Uganda Sports Press Association (USPA) awards are finally here. It’s the biggest time of the year to decide the favourite athletes that will take home the show’s biggest honours.
During the special sitting at Copper Chimney in Lugogo, Kampala, the scribes chose the top athletes that will be awarded prestigious awards at the biggest gala of the year at a yet-to-be communicated date. Joshua Cheptegei, who has smashed long distance running world records has been nominated for the athlete of the year award, the biggest on offer, alongside Peruth Chemutai.

Records galore
The 22-year-old, who set a new national record, started competitive running in the U20 World Championships, became the first Ugandan woman to win an Olympic medal as she took gold in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase at the Tokyo Games. Jacob Kiplimo, who set the Half-Marathon World Record at 57:31 in Lisbon on 21 November, 2021, is also in the running. Cricket Cranes’ Dinesh Nakrani completes the nomination.

Uspa president Patrick Kanyomozi noted that although the awards have been delayed, it is worth celebrating achievers. The awards gala is expected in September or October after final discussions with event sponsors Nile Special.
“It has been business unusual in sports since the outbreak of the Covid-19 but there are people who dared and organised events and our athletes excelled,” Kanyomozi said.

There are sports federations that did not hold events that were left out of the awards for lack of activities. But there are still arguments on inclusion as some categories still rank women alongside the men as well as professionals and amateurs. Athletes with disabilities are also not represented in the awards.
“Recognising us would motivate our special athletes,” Sam Kiggundu, the national sports director of Special Olympics Uganda, said.
Two minors, Pavin Nangozi (table tennis) and rider Miguel Katende will not attend the initial awards. Minors are awarded separately by Rwenzori water.

Kambale gets nod
Express FC forward Erick Kambale, who was the centre of attention in Express’ title triumph after nine years, finally got the nomination he deserved after being snubbed for the Fufa award. He lost the footballer of the year award to Vipers’ midfielder Bobosi Byaruhanga. The final decision was about choosing between the two and Kambale came on top.
Kambale scored 15 league goals, one behind top scorer Yunus Sentamu. 
He was also instrumental in guiding Express to the club’s first ever Cecafa Kagame Club Cup scoring two goals.

SELECTED BEST OF 2021 
Rugby
Men: Adrian Kasito
Women: Grace Auma
Cricket
Women: Rita Musamali
Men: Dinesh Nakrani
Golf
Men: Ronald Rugumayo 
Women: Irene Nakalembe
Football
Women: Daisy Nakaziro
Men: Eric Kambale
Woodball
Men: Thomas Kedi
Women: Joan Mukoova
Swimming
Women: Kirabo Namutebi
Men: Tendo Mukalazi
Motorsport Rally Crew: 
Yasin Nasser/Ali Katumba
Motocross: 
Miguel Katende
Volleyball
Men: Daudi Okello
Women: Maureen Mwamula
Athletics
Men: Joshua Cheptegei
Women: Peruth Chemutai
Cycling: Mary Alepa
Weightlifting: Davis Niyoyita

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