The coronavirus pandemic pushed sports in Uganda into a bottle and plenty of activity for the year has had to be foregone.
The Uganda Golf Union (UGU) is however hoping to crack it and stage a three-in-one Uganda Golf Open starting next week at the Uganda Golf Club (UGC) in Kitante. The Uganda Open tournament director John Katto spoke beaming with confidence that even if this annual showpiece is relatively three months late, UGU is out to do a stellar job and deliver a benchmark event for the entire sports fraternity. “We are ready, everything is set. The course is ready, the organization team is ready,” said Katto who also doubles at the UGU vice president.
UGC will be the centre of attraction with the 70th Ladies Open, 79th Amateurs Open and 15th Professional Open all coming within a 10-day period from November 26 - December 6.
Covid-19 restrictions have heavily plugged out the normality of this showpiece but organizers yesterday announced a Shs150m financial boost from anchor sponsorship Uganda Breweries Limited under the brand Tusker Malt Lager.
“I thank the sponsors because without them, it would have been difficult to stage the event,” remarked UGU president Moses Matsiko.
“UBL have contributed Shs100m in cash for the professionals and Shs50m in kind for various properties. This being a virtual event, Next Media will be broadcasting this event live among other things they will be doing for us.”
“As UBL, we are delighted to be sponsors for the Uganda Open, thank you UGU for inviting us back,” said UBL representative Annette Nakiyaga. “As most of you know, UBL is the biggest sponsor of golf in Uganda,” she added.
On the list too is Pinnacle Security, Case Medicare who will have Covid-19 medics for any cases, Timothy Ojala Foundation as well as Master Power who have offered masks and reflector jackets for marshals. Then, Crown Beverages has offered soft drinks through the Pepsi brand.
The Open, which begins with the ladies’ show from November 26-28, is set to be played under stringent regulations to stop the spread of Covid-19.
“We have a total of 360 registered so far. I can comfortably say that’s a good turn up from across the world. Our major focus is going to be adherence to Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in line with Ministry of Health,” added Matsiko.
By press time, 31 players had registered for the main Ladies Open, 103 for the Amateur Open while the 78-man list for the Professionals’ Open has 20 Ugandans, 29 Kenyans and 10 Zimbabweans.