David Emong does not feel satisfied after winning Uganda’s first Paralympic medal last month but rather prefers to focus on his preparations towards the next Games in Tokyo, Japan, in four-years-time, where he is hoping to top the podium.
The 26-year-old sealed athletics silver in the men’s 1,500m T45/46 at Rio 2016 with a time of 4:00.62, finishing behind Algeria’s Samir Nouioua (3:59.46) and ahead of Australia’s Michael Roeger (4:01.34).
“I feel very happy for having made history for Uganda,” said Emong, who was close to reaching the podium at London 2012, finishing fourth in the 1,500m T46.
The T45-47 event has competitors whose upper limb or limbs are affected by limb deficiency, impaired muscle power or impaired range of movement.
Uganda made their Paralympic debut at Heidelberg 1972 and also sent a delegation to Toronto 1976 before a 20-year-absence from the Games, only returning in Atlanta, USA, in 1996.
It was one of four countries to claim their first Paralympic medal in Rio, together with Cape Verde, Mozambique and Qatar.
Uganda-born track and field athlete Tofiri Kibuuka won five silvers and one bronze at Paralympic Games but representing Norway, his receiving country.
“It is good for the people in my country to have a Paralympic hero. I expected to win this medal because I had been training very hard to increase my maximum speed,” Emong told Paralympics.org.
Last year, the middle-distance runner took silver in the same event at the African Games, in Brazzaville, Congo, with Nouioua claiming gold, anticipating what would happen in Rio.
“One day I will win gold,” said Emong, full of confidence.
“With the help of God, I will compete at Tokyo 2020. My goal there is to take the gold medal to Uganda. I see myself doing it and it is my biggest dream.”
Emong said there were many reasons he enjoyed his second Paralympic experience, in Rio.
“This Paralympic Games was good. I liked the stadium and also ate some African food!” he said.
The Ugandan lives in the town of Kapchorwa, where he trains “under difficult conditions. The track is not good and is too far from where I live, so I need to take a transport which costs a lot of money.”
But difficulties never stopped Emong from doing what he loves since he took up athletics in 2005, inspired by Olympic runner Moses Kipsiro.
“I heard in the radio he had won a medal and thought I also wanted to be an athlete like him,” said Emong.