Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah has assured Ugandans, sportsmen and women that the sports sector will see an increase and not a decrease in the next sector budget allocation.
Oulanyah was on Tuesday night speaking at a dinner he organized at Imperial Royale hotel to honor the 25 athletes who brought back two gold, a silver and a bronze in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Joshua Cheptegei was honored in the dinner for his outstanding performance at the Olympics, winning gold in the men’s 5000 meters and Silver in the men’s 10000 meters. Peruth Chemutai in her absentia was also given an award for winning gold at the women’s 3000m steeplechase.
Another athlete honored was David Emong who won bronze at the Tokyo Paralympics and Jacob Kiplimo who won bronze in the 10000 meters race.
Speaking at the event, Oulanyah applauded Team Uganda for carrying the country’s flag high. He also hailed the athletes who struggled to finish, saying that they carried with them the Olympic spirit of finishing the race and not simply starting it and leaving it like that.
In his statement, Oulanyah also said it was time to go back to the grass root structures to identify the sportsmen and women who are lost in the villages, saying there are several hidden talents.
He also committed to funding, saying the President and first lady have already shown a big step in supporting sports.
David Hamson Obua, the Minister for State for sports used the opportunity to launch a sports grassroot initiative for sports development. He started by unveiling a plan to supply 5000 footballs and 3000 netballs to be handed over to Members of Parliament for them to give to their constituents. He says as the Ministry of Education and Sports, they have started with the two sports and will move to supporting the others as well.
Obua said that government knows that the sports sector doesn’t have enough funds and he asked for more support.
Cheptegei who spoke on behalf of the Olympic athletes called for a more sustainable approach to support the Olympic participants, saying only four people got medals and yet there are up to 25 Olympic athletes who participated but have not been supported financially.
He also used the opportunity to call on government to construct more facilities for sports. Cheptegei also used the occasion to call upon Ugandans to support the construction of his training facility in Kapchorwa that will develop athletes.