What you need to know:
- Cynthia Kemigisha, Skateboarding Union general secretary said the expansion of the park is a silver bullet as it will lure more girls to the park, and help the Union to prepare for Paris 2024.
Two years to the 2024 Olympics in Paris, the Uganda Skateboarding Union must fix many things to be ready for their first entry into the biggest multi-sport event on earth.
Skateboarding made its Olympic debut in Tokyo last year, and as the Ugandan body targets its maiden appearance, it also wants to hit the gender-inclusive target by attracting more girls to the park.
It is such urgency that attracted Spanish volunteers in partnership with the French Embassy to expand the Kitintale Skatepark to include a space for girl skaters.
“There are not many women in skating and now with the Olympic window cast open, we can’t wait to have more women on board, not only as skaters but also as referees, judges, coaching and now in construction of skateboarding facilities,” said Veronica Trillo, team leader of the four volunteers from the Female Skate Organisation.
“Those are the new roles we want to introduce to the female community and I would urge parents and guardians to give their daughters a chance to try and ready themselves for such opportunities which are showing up across the world.”
Trillo, a psychologist, who is also conducting stakeholders workshops through this week, added that opening up spaces for girls gives them a chance to be healthier, more confident and get a sense of belonging to their communities.
“I’m learning new building skills and it’s beneficial to girls like me who don’t have an occupation, '' said Hellen Akurut, who volunteered in the construction. From the sports viewpoint, the upcoming skater who wants to become a professional, said: “Most people think skating is for only boys, but now we shall show them that girls too can do it.”
Lucille Fontaine, sports attaché, French embassy, said the FSPI or Solidarity Fund for Innovation Project is aimed at using skateboarding to develop communities and sports in Uganda, generally.
“It’s something we can use to celebrate culture and links with other countries,” Fontaine added at the launch of the expansion work that started Saturday.
Cynthia Kemigisha, Skateboarding Union general secretary said the expansion of the park is a silver bullet as it will lure more girls to the park, and help the Union to prepare for Paris 2024.
“With such help we believe we have the capacity and talent to hit the Olympics target,” she said.