What you need to know:
- Uganda has only two skateboarding parks, one in Kitintale, another in Mukono, but even they don’t meet the required standards.
It is two and a half years until the 2024 Olympics in Paris but the Uganda Skateboarding Union (USU) believes if they do the right things, Uganda can be represented at the Games.
Jackson Mubiru, the union’s founding director, said the sport came to Uganda in 2005, but has registered minimal progress due to various challenges.
However, across the globe, skateboarding has overcome numerous hurdles, spread to several countries, and last year it hit the biggest of milestones—being admitted into the Olympics, beginning with the 2024 edition in Paris. And Uganda wants to be among the countries participating in the first Olympic edition.
“We have always struggled with funding because we get virtually nothing from the government, but now we have a boost after securing partnership with the French Embassy,” said Hope Mugyenyi, board chair of the Union during the celebration of the Go Skateboarding Day at the Kitintale Skate Park on Tuesday.
“Such support will help us spread the sport to most of the districts to attract a variety of talent in different age groups and improve on the quality of competition to scale the international standards.
Need for standard parks
Uganda has only two skateboarding parks, one in Kitintale, another in Mukono, but even they don’t meet the required standards.
Mugyenyi, however, said they have less expensive portable skateboarding facilities which will ease the introduction of the sport to other regions. But beyond the facilities, the union has an enormous task to realise the Olympic dream in the next 30 months.
“We need to establish clubs and serious competitions like a league but that begins with changing mind-sets so that parents allow us to train their children,” says Mubiru, who also doubles as a trainer.
He added that parents fear for their children because they see skateboarding as a potentially dangerous sport.
But Shakira Nanono, who joined the sport in January 2021, wants more girls to join the sport because “falling is part of life.”