President Yoweri Museveni has flagged off the Ugandan team to tussle it out for honors during the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. The event, graced by Japan’s ambassador to Uganda H.E Fukuzawa Hidemoto, took place on Friday 9th at the historical Kololo Independence Grounds.
The Sports State Minister, Hon. Denis Hamson Obua took the opportunity to tell the president of the challenges the sports sector is facing. Likening it to a war situation where an officer wants to continue fighting but is held up by the limited supply of ammunition, Obua decried the recent budget cuts on the sports sector.
In the 2019/2020 budget, we requested for shs38bn but received 25bn. The cuts due to the on going covid19 pandemic continued in the 2020/2021 with an 8bn budget cut receiving shs17bn. The situation is not different with the 2021/2022 financial year as we are operating under a shs10bn budget.Hon. Hamson Obua
To channel more finances to the COVID19 fight, the government instituted budget cuts scrapping off foreign travel. But as we may know, there’s no way the country can participate in international competitions without foreign travel. So it is on this basis that the sports ministry requests a pardon.
Museveni calls for discipline.
President Museveni, in his address, congratulated the athletes for overcoming the hardest hurdle of qualification. “This is a great achievement because no one who wants can go and participate. Even if it were me that I want to represent Uganda because I am president, it would not be possible,” he added. However, he called upon the athletes to desist from alcohol and termed as womanization and manization.
The president also tasked the contingent to take charge of their safety as the world battles the covid19 pandemic. This follows the isolation of two of Uganda’s first batch members who traveled to Japan following covid19 positive tests despite leaving the country when tested negative.
To the president, sport invokes 8 pillars in his mind—these range from Talent Identification, Fitness, Perseverance, and Discipline. Sports also creates Friendships, offers publicity for the nation and noble spirit. The other factor is entertainment which in turn boosts business.
President Museveni also launched the UOC at 65 celebrations.
With all their allowances already credited to their respective bank accounts, the Stephen Kiprotich captained entourage is rejuvenated ahead of their travels to the Japanese capital. The contingent consists of 25 athletes. These are to be supported by a host of officials led by Honourable Obua and the coaching staff. Uganda’s odds to eclipse their two Olympic medals are high, with world 10,000m and 5,000m record holder Joshua Cheptegei set for the events. In addition, 2020 Half Marathon world champion Jacob Kiplimo is also a medal hopeful at the Games.
The Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to take place from July 23 to August 8. The competition held every four years was meant to occur last year but was postponed as COVID19 ravaged earth. But with the world adjusting to life in the new normal, the Olympics will be held behind closed doors.