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What next after Uganda shines at All Africa Games?

The Hippos impressed with silver

The Hippos impressed with silver

The 20-medal haul from the recently-concluded Africa Games in Ghana is Uganda’s highest in 59 years.

With four gold, six silver and 10 bronze medals, Uganda finished 13th out of the 54 nations. Over the years, we had become accustomed to winning medals on the track but it was refreshing to see Uganda winning medals in three-by-three basketball, cricket and cycling.

What’s more, Uganda had never won a medal in swimming and football until the Ghana games. Swimmer Gloria Muzito impressed after winning a bronze medal while The Hippos (U-20 side) won a silver medal for the first time after losing the final 0-1 to Ghana. The ladies side, the Queens also won bronze on their first time at the continental games.

In fact, we would have won more medals had several elite athletes participated.

HOW TIMES CHANGE

Since 1965 when Uganda first participated at the games, the previous highest number of medals was 14 at the 1978 games in Algiers, Algeria.

In the last Africa Games in Rabat, Morocco, Uganda did not win a gold medal; out of the 10; two were silver while eight were bronze medals. In 2015, when the games celebrated 50 years of existence in Brazzaville, Congo, the Ugandan team managed only two bronze medals.

Going by these old statistics, it is clear Ugandan athletes have improved in all disciplines and events.

THE STAR PERFORMERS

It was joy seeing Charles Kagimu win Uganda’s first-ever cycling medal and just days later, we toasted to gold in both Rugby 7s teams [men and women].

For the first time, the country also won a gold medal in badminton. Husina Kobugabe and Gladys Mbabazi were our heroes as they won the female doubles before Kobugabe added a silver medal in the ladies singles.

Fadillah Shamika also grabbed a bronze medal in her badminton singles run. This triumph in Ghana will go a long way to help the trio improve their rankings and if all goes according to plan in their slated events in Europe, they might be part of the Paris Olympics Games.

Meanwhile, weightlifter Davis Niyoyita went a step further by winning three medals (two silver and one bronze medal) individually. Other medals came from the boxers who won three bronze medals while Joyce Lalam was on the podium after winning a bronze medal in javelin.

She is the first lady to win a medal in these Games after Constance Rwabiryegye won a gold medal in 1978.

ARE THE GAMES RUNNING OUT OF STEAM?

On the flipside of Uganda’s stellar performance, I think the games are losing steam following the absence of top athletes who turned their back on the event.

Matters were not helped by the absence of live TV coverage in this digital era. I also found it irregular for Team Uganda to travel to Accra in small bunches. Previously, the entire contingent used to travel in one piece and would first receive a big send-off with the Uganda flag.

All in all, this doesn’t take away the fact that our athletes showcased real talent in Ghana.

bzziwa@gmailcom

Comments

0 #1 The Ugandan… 2024-03-28 08:34
When you see results like this, you have to look at the sports management. The various sports bodies like FUFA, NCS and MoE might be, getting their acts together.

BTW, 1978 was the peak of UG sports, before Idi Amin was overthrown. The last time the Cranes were also at the AFCON finals, incidentally in Ghana.

There is still a lot of work to do but let’s give credit to the folks that run sports. They are on the right track.

FYI, the games were streamed live on Ghana TV.
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