Optimism as skating federation trains female officials

Renata Paschini wants skaters in Uganda to be empowered. PHOTO/GEORGE KATONGOLE 

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Women attending the technical course: Noor Nakayiza, Janet Birungi, Jane Francis Nakigozi, Faith Emiru, Peninah Baluka, Vivian Nantamu, Catherine Nanyange, Natasha Katushabe, Moreen Nakaliisa, Fatuma Nassaazi, Hanisha Ssezerano, Lilian Ishimwe, Shanon Nambi, Shanita Blessing and Shakirah Nanono.

Three main barriers stand in the development path of skating in Uganda. Negative perceptions, facilities and lack of technical knowledge.

Indeed Uganda has just two mini-parks; in Mukono and Kitintale where prospective skaters can practice and compete decently.

A game of precision in terms of balance, timings and turns, injuries scare many parents while some still hold the thinking that skaters are notorious city thugs. This has in part limited recruitment of new players. But all this is because there is limited knowledge about skateboarding, an Olympic sport that made its debut in Tokyo 2020.

The Uganda Skateboarding Federation has embarked on a journey to equip the women in the sport with technical knowledge. At the week-long Women in Skateboarding Technical Course held at Buziga Country Resort, internationally acclaimed judge Renata Paschini and Argentine Natalia Sanchez as well as Zimbabwean Chenaimoyo Gwandu, will be sharing knowledge on how to create more vibe around skating.

Paschini, a member of the Gender Equality Commission Appointments on World Skate, the international body, who believes that skating is about community, inclusivity and equality, said that by training women they will be able to confront inequality based on gender.

“We have the opportunity to equip women to encounter biases while also raising the profile of the sport,” Paschini said.

Uganda Skating Federation (USF) president Moses Ddungu explained that the 15 women selected to undertake the World Skate sanctioned course, which is the first in Africa, will gain a deeper understanding of the sport.

"They are going to learn how to judge the sport, learn about the different structures, how to train, how to train injuries, how to start skate clubs, how to manage athletes on top of coaching skills," said Ddungu.

There are two important events where knowledge from this training will come in handy. Ahead of the World Skate Games 2022 to be held in Argentina from October 24 to November 4, the excelling officials could be chosen as officials. But with the Paris Olympic Games knocking, there is another opportunity for the trained officials to squeeze into world skating.

Uganda Olympic Committee executive member Nasser Sserunjogi, who doubles as the president of the basketball federation (Fuba), was the chief guest at the opening ceremony on Tuesday.

Sserunjogi stressed the need to equip officials with knowledge to develop more players.

"The biggest challenge we have in African sport is the lack of untrained officials. Even if you have equipment and facilities without trained judges and coaches, you cannot go far. This is why such training is important for the future of skating in Uganda," Sserunjogi said.

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