Ssekitoleko would have been Uganda’s first weightlifter at the Olympics in nine years but he will miss out because he did not get a slot in the 67kg category
Just last month, weightlifter Julius Ssekitoleko beamed with confidence in company of his coach Hakim Ssempereza before they departed for the Izumisano camp ahead of Tokyo Olympics.
The pair were part of Uganda’s first nine-man batch to Japan on June 18 which was later detected with two positive cases for the coronavirus. Ssekitoleko and co had come out of a quarantine last week to resume final preparations in Izumisano but his Olympic dream is over already. Daily Monitor understands that the 20-year-old will return home early next week after he missed a slot in the 67kg weight category.
“We received communication late that Uganda had no quota for weightlifting,” said Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) general secretary Beatrice Ayikoru. “He will be returning on July 20,” said the Team Uganda chef de mission.
Ssekitoleko was set to become the country’s ninth lifter in the Games’ history but Uganda Weightlifting Federation (UWF) president Salim Musoke says he missed a slot across two quotas.
“He was among the athletes on the waiting list (for slots) at the time he travelled,” Musoke stated. Ssekitoleko joined the pending list after winning 67kg bronze after lifting 100kg in clean and 130kg in clean and jerk for a total 230kg during the Africa Weightlifting Championships at Ruaraka Sports Club in Kenyan capital Nairobi in late May.
“He had two entry routes; in 61kg and 67kg,” Musoke narrated. “International Weightlifting Federation gave us a very urgent notice (to decide) and I told them that 67kg was the best. He was put in the 67kg category and he was among many others waiting.”
“For the first quota, a competitor from Madagascar took his place in the first quota,” Musoke explained.
And this being the African champion Tojonirina Andriantsitohaina before his share of luck ran out. “And for the unused slots available, Japan had extra slots as a host which they filled up.”
For this category, Japan entered Mitsunori Konnai to complete a 14-man list that will compete for gold at the Tokyo International Forum on July 25.
UWF and UOC received final details last week on July 6 and, Ssekitoleko, unlike his four counterparts in Izumisano, who will connect to the Games’ Village in Tokyo on July 20, will be arrive home that day.
“At least we already have five athletes qualified for the Commonwealth Games and it is why we chose to keep in the Izumisano camp,” added Musoke, who will still travel to Tokyo as an International Technical Official (ITO) for
“But he has benefitted from the training as we head off to Birmingham 2022. He is one of the five weightlifters currently confirmed for the Games,” added Ayikoru.
Ssekitoleko’s miss means that for the first time in Olympic history, Uganda will present more women (13) than men (12).
LIFTERS AT OLYMPICS
Charles Ssekyaaya (62kg: 235, 13th)
Mubarak Kivumbi (56kg: DNS)
Irene Ajambo (69kg: 150, 9th)
Ali Kavuma (108kg: 260.0, 19th)
Joseph Kaddu Kuteesa (67.5kg: 215.0 21st)
& Ali Kavuma (90kg: 232.5, 24th)
Los Angeles 1984:
Fred Bunjo (75kg: 245.0, 18th)
& John Kyazze (110kg: 120.0, AC)