Kabayo in action at Kisubi beach Credit: © Kawowo Sports | DAVID ISABIRYE
Uganda Rowing Federation Technical Director, Rodrick Muhumuza. He is also a FISA verified coach educator. Credit: KAWOWO SPORTS

Rodrick Muhumuza is the Technical Director of the Uganda Rowing Federation. He is also the custodian of FISA racing rules locally and so many other roles as may be assigned.

Muhumuza is a FISA verified coach educator so this role enables him to travel around the east and Central Africa areas to train beginner coaches.

He is responsible for drawing up training programs that local club coaches can use in line with getting athletes to be able to achieve the 2024 goal.

By and large, he draws direction to the executive on which events the federation can take part in internationally.

In a detailed question and answer interview with Kawowo Sports, he talks about the present and projected future state of the sport in Uganda.

Question: As the Technical Director of Uganda Rowing Federation, what are the projected targets and aspirations in place?
Answer: Projected targets is winning a medal at the 2024 Olympics, long term.
Mid term target is to get athletes qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Short term target is to get our elite athletes improving their times in all the international competitions we participate in starting with the world championships next month in Florida, USA and at the African Rowing Championships in Tunisia this October.
[/media-credit] Maroons’ rower William Mwanga in action during a domestic regatta at Kisubi beach
Question: What is the present state and future of the rowing sport in Uganda?
Answer: Present state of rowing is promising.
With the recent workshop held members agreed to move the federation in the right direction minimizing friction amongst administrators and focus on the development of the sport and athletes.
The future of the sport is very bright.
We have support of the World Rowing Federation, have support of the Uganda Olympic Committee and most importantly we have support from within the clubs, so yes future is very bright
Olympic Solidarity and FISA have committed funds to purchase new equipment for Uganda, we believe this is going to drive our sport in the right direction and help us get noticed as a force on the world stage
[/media-credit] Raymon Adiga and Douglas Kisalare in action during a previous regatta
Question: What is being done to lure sponsors to the Uganda Rowing Federation and this water sport in general?
Answer: As you are aware, before the July workshop, we had people who were against the current federation set up, the workshop helped bridge the differences.
No sponsors would want to come into disorganized bodies. Now that members agreed to move forward as a unit for the development of the sport, we can now say engagements with sponsors shall start.
Remember water sport is a virgin territory in Uganda both as a sport and as a tourism drive.
So government and private sector should take note and come join us promote rowing, especially Uganda Tourism Board. Rowing is considered a tourism sport, because wherever there is a major rowing event, all Nations are represented and this brings domestic tourism up.
Uganda Rowing strategic workshop with the experts at Sheraton Kampala Hotel
Question: What is next after the strategic planning workshop?
Answer: We are beginning to put in place what we agreed in the July workshop, for example, a follow up meeting is scheduled for 26th August where members shall pass and adopt the ideas we agreed upon during the workshop.
Key elements of the strategic planning process shall also be adopted in the August meeting which will lay ground for Operational framework for the two year plan.
Also immediately after the August meeting, the National Olympic Committee (NOC), FISA and URF will initiate purchase of equipment that will help drive us toward achieving our goal of 2024.
[/media-credit] Uganda Rowing Federation president, Hamza Kahwa (right) stressing a point during the recently held strategic planning workshop at Sheraton Kampala Hotel, Kampala
Question: How many rowing clubs are actively involved and when should the public expect local regattas. Who are some of the outstanding players in Uganda at the moment?
Answer: As said, we are really organizing, all local rowing clubs should be involved in driving the sport forward, first by participating in all URF activities and secondly by also initiating club based development strategies businesswise and sportingwise.
We are coming up with a Regatta calendar that should roll out local competitions starting December, and throughout 2018.
There are quite a number of promising players. Arnold Omony and Alfred Okello are currently training on a double scull (LM2X) for the World Rowing Championships in Sarasota Brandeton Florida, USA in September.
Gerald Ssemambo Gerald will race in the LM1X, and he is based in USA and currently training with his MercyHurst University crew ahead of the world championships.
Douglas Kisarale and Constance Mbambu will compete at the African Championships in October alongside the earlier mentioned athletes.
There are also so many rowers in the respective clubs as Nalubaale, Maroons, Greenbelt, Nalubaale Water Sports Club, Wellness, Defenders, Express, Crane and UPDF rowing clubs.

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

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