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Uganda’s Tibatemwa gets a second day in the limelight

Joshua Tibatemwa a first-year student at Grinnell College trains in the Russell K. Osgood Pool located in the Charles Benson Bear '39 Recreation and Athletic Center for a possible trip to Rio and the 2016 Summer Olympics where he could represent his home country of Uganda May 9, 2016. (Photo by Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College)
Tibatemwa a first-year student at Grinnell College in the US trains earlier in the year. (Photo by Justin Hayworth/Grinnell College)

Joshua Ekirikubinza Tibatemwa was in the limelight on his Olympic debut. The 19-year-old was Uganda’s flag-bearer at the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics last Friday.

Today he returns for his competitive debut, achieving a lifelong dream to represent Uganda at the Olympics. The men’s 50m freestyle race today offers him a chance to rewrite the national record that he holds.

“It has been a silent goal of mine to get to the Olympics,” Tibatemwa told CollegesSwimming in the US earlier. “Every swimmer harbors it. I would love to have the opportunity to be among the world’s best athletes, doing what they’ve been training to do for many years.”

He will be the third of Uganda’s 21 athletes to compete. The team has 2 swimmers, 2 boxers and 17 athletes.

Uganda’s day one at the Rio Games ended miserably, with light-heavy weight boxer Kennedy Katende stopped by Briton Joshua Buatsi while swimmer Jamila Lunkuse was 40th of 44, in the heats of the 100m breast-stroke.


Uganda at opening ceremony 2
Tibatemwa led the Ugandan team at the Opening Ceremony in Rio
Today, 7:08 PM
Athlete Lane
Billy-Scott Irakoze
Eloi Imaniraguha
Samson Opuakpo
Hilal Hemed Hilal
Farhan Farhan
Joshua Ekirikubinza Tibatemwa
Giordan Harris
Marshall Islands
Olim Kurbanov
Olympic Aquatics Stadium

Who is Tibatemwa?

At the International Swimming Federation World Championships in Kazan, Russia last year, Tibatemwa set two national records for Uganda and achieved his personal best in the 50 freestyle (25.54 seconds) and 50 breaststroke (33.00 seconds). I

He trained for the Olympics under the guidance of Grinnell swim coaches Tim Hammond and Erin Hurley.

“It’s the best training I have ever gotten,” Tibatemwa said in an interview with CollegesSwimming . “It is very structured and will help me if I get to the Olympics.

“Joshua is an absolute joy to coach,” Hammond told CollegesSwimming. “He is perpetually positive and does his best to accomplish each task at hand. Most everyone sees Joshua as a shy, kind person. And he is, but when you spend enough time with Joshua in a competitive endeavor, you can start to peak at the competitive monster inside of him that one would never see without knowing him well enough.”

Tibatemwa, who plans to major in computer science at his US college, began swimming at age 6. “At first I didn’t want to compete,” he says. But by the time he was 13, he started to enjoy the sport. “With swimming,” he says, “you have time to yourself as compared to other sports. You don’t have to shout to pass the ball. You can be alone in your head.”


Uganda’s Schedule

Thursday August 11
Swimming 7.00pm
Joshua Ekirikubinza Tibatemwa – Men’s 50 m freestyle

Friday August 12
Athletics 5pm
Juliet Chekwel – Women’s 10000m final 

Saturday August 13
Boxing 11.45pm

Men’s flyweight  Round of 32

Ronald Serugo vs  Narek Abgaryan (Armenia)

Saturday August 13
Athletics 4pm
Women’s 3000m Steeplechase Heat 1
Peruth Chemutai

10000m men final (3.00am Sunday Uganda time)
Timothy Toroitich, Moses Kurong and Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei

Sunday August 14
Women’s marathon final 3.30pm
Nyakisi Adero

Monday August 15 
Men’s 3000m steeplechase round 1 – 4.25pm
Benjamin Kiplagat and Jacob Araptany
Women 3000m Steeplechase final 5.15pm

Tuesday August 16 
Women’s 5000m round 1 – 3.30pm
Juliet Chekwel and Stella Chesang

Men’s 1500m round 1 – 4-30pm
Ronald Musagala

Wed August 17 
Men’s 5000m round 1 – 4.05pm
Jacob Kiplimo, Phillip Kipyego and Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei

Women’s 800m round 1 – 4.55pm
Halimah Nakaayi and Winnie Nanyondo

Men’s Steeplechase final

Thursday August 18 
Men’s 1500m semifinal
Women 800m semifinal

Friday August 19 
Women’s 5000m final

Saturday August 20 
Men’s 1500m final
Women’s 800m final
Men’s 5000m final 3.30pm
Jacob Kiplimo, Phillip Kipyego and Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei

Sunday August 21 
Men’s Marathon final 3.30pm
Solomon Mutai, Jackson Kiprop and Stephen Kiprotich

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