All Edwin Ekiring needed to do was hold onto his number one position on the continent until the end of this month to qualify for the 2016 summer Olympics in Brazil.
Which would be his third, that would make him only the second Ugandan to achieve the feat after boxer Charles Lubulwa in 1980, 1984 and 1988.
But the 32 year old three time All Africa Medalist has pulled out at the time when he was supposed to be heading to Peru and Haiti to play for just 30 points and in the process seal his ticket to Rio de Janeiro and name among Uganda’s top Olympians.
I am very frustrated. All I needed was just 30 points to seal my place for Rio. Through my sponsors and family, I have managed to play several qualification tourneys and spend over 8,000 Euros (about Shs30m) but we are completely out of funds.
Ekiring told a local newspaper, Daily Monitor in a phone interview before confessing to Kawowo Sports later.
I use my own money, sometimes with the help of well-wishers and the local badminton federation yet the people who are supposed to be helping me and other athletes are seated in their offices waiting to cling onto our glory when we qualify.
The Netherlands-based Ekiring hoped that Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) and National Council of Sports (NCS) would send him funds for the remaining tournaments but it wasn’t the case.
More than five meetings have been held with NCS and yet we have no clue of how the funds have been allocated. It is a pity our players have to withdraw from events or send limited athletes (boxing and athletics) for qualifying tournaments at this most important and crucial qualifying stage.
UOC president William Blick wrote, in a strong-worded letter to Commissioner of Sports Omara Apitta, on learning about Ekiring’s withdrawal before adding.
In 2014 if you recall NCS totally let down Team Uganda by sending money for kit after the team departed which resulted in 60% of the kit being delivered months after the team returned from Commonwealth Games.
Ekiring is ranked 82nd in the world and 37th in the draw of 64 players eligible to play at the Olympics and his withdraw is confirmation that South African Jacob Maliekal will represent Africa in Rio De Janeiro which will be his maiden Olympics appearance.
Badminton is scheduled for August 11-20 at the 6,500 seater Riocentro (exhibition centre)
Ekiring fact file
Full Names: Edwin Ekiring
Nickname: The Black Pear
DOB: December 22, 1983
Height: 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight: 65 kilograms (143 lb)
Medals Ekiring has won for Uganda
All-African Games Silver medal: 2011 Maputo
All-African Games Bronze medals: Algiers 2007, Brazzaville 2015