Tough start for Uganda swimmers in Belgrade

Tuesday September 14 2021
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Growth. Katemba in action for her club Dolphins at a local gala pre Covid-19.

By Makhtum Muziransa

Uganda’s John Kafumbe was in splendid form yesterday as he broke into under a minute in the 100m breaststroke at the ongoing inaugural ISF (International School Foundation) World School Games in Belgrade, Serbia.

The games bring together top athletes from secondary schools all over the world to represent their countries and the Ugandan swimming quartet made the grade owing to their performance at the Federation of East Africa Secondary Schools Sports Association (FEASSSA) games in Arusha, Tanzania in 2019.

Kafumbe, 14, a student at Heritage International Christian Academy and swimmer with Seals Swim Club, crashed his 1:03.99 entry time to post 59.14 seconds - a remarkable achievement for a swimmer who has not been to a competition since 2019. He is also just five seconds behind Atuhaire Ambala's national record of 53.86.

He also returned 1:19.41 in the 100m breaststroke event that he did with teammate Shane Birungi (1:24.07) and will attack the 400m freestyle today. Kafumbe will bet on himself to do better there today as mid-distance races are niche for his club.

Birungi, 14, swims for Kampala International School of Uganda (Kisu). He also swims for Dolphins Swim Club - alongside Sophia Nagayi and Karimah Katemba, the females on the team who attend Aga Khan School.

Katemba, 13, who was confident about her conditioning as they headed out to Belgrade, also returned a 1:04.42 PB in the girls’ 100m free and 32.63 in the 50m butterfly.

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Birungi and Katemba will today do the 50m free and 50m breast events while Nagayi, 14, who posted 36.63 in the 50m fly yesterday, will only do the 50m free.

"Unlike most of our competitors, we have been on and off training for some time due to the lockdown and restrictions back home in Uganda," Erick Kisero, the British School of Kampala (BSK) and Altona Swim Club coach leading the team in Belgrade said.

"We are competing against swimmers that are preparing to take part in the Fina World Junior (as its the same agegroup) so you can imagine their form. However, the team is representing our country well and the PBs should push us with momentum into the next days," Kisero added.

ISF U-15 World Schools Games

Swimming Results - Monday

Sophia Nagayi

50m fly: 36.63

Karimah Katemba

100m free: 1:04.42 (PB)

50m fly: 32.63

John Kafumbe

100m free: 59.14 (PB)

100m breast: 1:19.41

Shane Birungi

100m breast: 1:24.07

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