Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Chief de Mission of Uganda’s team at the just concluded Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia, Beatrice Ayikoru has called on Government to establish programs that motivates athletes to stay in Uganda and avoid disappearing abroad.
In an interview, Ayikoru who is also the general secretary of the Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) said since most Ugandan athletes are from poor families and backgrounds, when they go abroad they think that’s the opportunity of a life time.
She also says sports in the country lacks motivating with no facilities, like swimming pools, squash courts and gyms and no equipment like rackets which are not made in Uganda and are very expensive.
During the Games in Australia five athletes Regan Ssimbwa, Nasir Bashir (boxing), Halima Namboozo (table tennis) and two weightlifters Irene Kasubo and Kalidi Butuusa disappeared.
Uganda won three gold medals, two bronze and one silver at the common wealth games, with Joshua Cheptegei winning two gold medals in the 5000 and 10,000 race and Stella Chesang won another gold in the 10,000 meters women’s race. Merciline Chelangat also got a bronze in the 10,000 meters and Solomon Mutai got a Silver medal while Juma Miro won bronze in a weight category. Uganda was ranked 15th.
Ayikoru also says the other issue is the welfare of athletes. She says a proper arrangement should be in place to pay athletes, even at a time when they are just starting, adding that the structures of talent identification should be established earlier and made sustainable, saying there are thousands of Ugandans who cannot all go out.
Ayikoru said she hopes that the athletes will return back to Uganda.
It is not the first time Ugandan athletes have disappeared abroad. Last year, three Ugandan boxers David Ayiti, Geoffrey Kakeeto and African welterweight champion Muzamiru Kakande.who participated in the 2017 AIBA World Championships in Hamburg, Germany, did not return home.