Rugby Cranes Sevens have worked hard for several years to get themselves into a position of competing at the prestigious Olympic Games. Covid-19 has denied them that opportunity.
Uganda was yesterday, on the eve of a 12-team qualifying tournament in Monaco, withdrawn after returning multiple positive tests for the coronavirus.
“In accordance with tournament regulations, the Uganda men’s team has been withdrawn from the World Rugby Seven Repechage competition in Monaco from June 18-20 following a number of Covid-19 results determined during scheduled arrival testing,” a statement from World Rugby reads.
Robust tournament Covid-19 protocols implemented by World Rugby and Monegasque Rugby Union, which included pre-departure and on arrival PCR testing, revealed positive results in the Ugandan delegation.
“All Ugandan players have been in strict isolation since arrival, and the delegation will continue to follow the isolation quarantine process as determined by Monaco authorities’ public health guidelines. Owing to the nature of these tournament protocols, there has been no close contact with members of other teams,” it adds.
Coach Tolbert Onyango’s team left Uganda last Saturday at 11pm, using KLM through Amsterdam, Netherlands, and arrived in Monaco on Sunday. Before departing Kampala, Aaron Ofoyrwoth and Adrian Kasito had tested positive for the virus which meant that they stayed here. James Odong and Kelvin Balagadde replaced them.
The tournament will continue as planned with games against Uganda given as byes. Rugby Cranes 7s were due to play Jamaica today, Hong Kong and France on Saturday and then face Chile on Sunday to wrap the pool phase. The remaining 11 will now compete for the lone slot in Tokyo.
Amid the ongoing global pandemic, the Rugby Cranes 7s become the third Ugandan side to be locked out of a competition due to returning positive tests.
The Silverbacks also had five members of their contingent test positive hours before tip-off of the Fiba Afrobasket on February 18.
Uganda Cricket Association (UCA), also, tactfully withdrew the Lady Cricket Cranes from the seventh Kwibuka Women’s Twenty20 International Tournament on June 4 after more than half of the team returned positive PCR Test Covid-19 results less than 20 hours before flying out to Rwanda.