African Rowing Championships:

Juniors: Alfred Okello 3rd overall (500 M)

Seniors: Gerald Ssemambo 5th  (2000M)

Uganda National Rowing Team of 2 athletes (Alfred Okello and Gerald Ssemambo) have successfully returned back home on early Tuesday morning aboard Turkish Airlines on Boeing 606.

“We have had a lot of lessons learnt from Tunisia, which definitely will make the rowers better experienced in future engagements both on the local scene and internationally”, Rodrick Muhumza, the accompanying coach said.

Junior rower, Okello, 17, managed a bronze in the sprint race (500M), but he narrowly missed out on the automatic qualification to the 2014 Nanjing, China Youth Olympics.

Perhaps, he stands a big chance to make the games on the Olympic wild card ticket.

Gerald Ssemambo, who participated in the 2000M single scull light weight category was the only rower in the finals from the East and Central African region. He finished 5th out of the 6 finalists with a timing of 7:50:21 in a very close race as the top five all clocked under 8 minutes. Tunisia won the finals after clocking 7 minutes, 18  seconds and 90 micro seconds.

“The better facilities in Tunisia and the experienced and the far well prepared rowers we encountered will make us better and better”, Ssemambo swore.

Arab North African nations dominated the games as hosts Tunisia led the medal table with 8 Gold, followed by Algeria and Egypt.

Special credit goes to the Uganda Rowing Federation under the Presidency of Hamza Kahwa for all its efforts of seeing the team of 3 travel for the games.

Dutch Rowing Coach, Thomas Friedhoff, who traveled specifically to the Tunisian games to monitor and shape Team Uganda also deserves worthy mention.

Friedhoff has already initiated a development code named ‘Project Uganda 2016’, that is intended to help out Ugandan Rowers become better atheltes by that set time lag in preparation for the Olympic games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

For now, focus will turn to the local team’s preparations and possible regattas if any.

The good news is that a junior female rower, Mbambu Constance has already booked her ticket for the Youth Olympic games in China next year.

She will need a special training and diet as the rowing sport is one of that requires a well-balanced diet for energy, stamina and endurance.

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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