The Common Wealth team members pose with the first lady, Janet Museveni upon arrival at the VVIP airport wing of Entebbe Credit: PPU
[/media-credit] The Common Wealth team members pose with the first lady, Janet Museveni upon arrival at the VVIP airport wing of Entebbe on Thursday Credit: PPU

The First Lady of Uganda, also the Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Kataha Museveni is optimistic that Uganda will perform much better in upcoming sporting events on the continental and global scenes.

Mrs. Museveni made the remarks during official welcoming ceremony for the Common Wealth Team from the 2018 games in Australia.

Flanked by the State ministers of Sports Charles Bakabulindi and the minister for Higher Education,

This is only the beginning of very many wins. I believe that by His help, Uganda will shine even brighter in sports and the world will acknowledge it. Keep it up!

Continued Government Support:

The team to Australia was boosted with a financial package of Shs 3Billion from the Government. The first lady asserts that this money will continue to be channeled to sports support.

The government is committed to and will keep supporting our athletes.

[/media-credit] Some of the Uganda athletes were driven in an open bus Credit: © Kawowo Sports | DAVID ISABIRYE

Majority of the team players and officials returned on Thursday afternoon before they were driven in an open bus vehicle to Imperial Royal Hotel for an official welcome dinner attended by the State Minister of Sports, Hon. Charles Bakabulindi.

The medalists were given special vehicles with open roofs as they waved to hundreds of fans paraded along the Entebbe- Kampala road up to the hotel where they reached a few minutes to 7 pm.

During the team return home, there was a section of people left disgruntled particularly the parents, family members and friends of athletes  as well as some journalists who were at first denied access to the athletes.

In particular, Stephenson Kwalya Munerya, father to Common wealth double gold winner Joshua Cheptegei cried foul after he was initially blocked from entering the lake side airport facility.

Missing players:

Five of the athletes who traveled with the team did not remain and are feared to have disappeared in thin air.

These are Halima Namboozo (Table Tennis), Irene Kasuubo (Weightlifting), Kalidi Batuusa (Weightlifting), Reagan Ssimbwa (Boxing) and Bashir Nasir (Boxing).

National Council of Sports officials Zubair Ggaliwango, Bosco Onyik, Andrew Sorowen, Kapchorwa Resident District Commissioner Jane Francis Kuka, Special Superintendent of Police (SSP) Andrew Sorowen are some of the high profile  personalities who welcomed the team at Entebbe International Airport on Thursday.

Uganda finished 15th on the medals table standing, having won six medals in total at the games.

Of the six medals, three are gold, a silver and two bronze – one better than at the last Games in Glasgow.

[/media-credit] Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei displays his two Common Wealth gold medals Credit: PPU

Cheptegai won two gold medals in the 5000M and 1000M races to lead the cast of winners.

There was another gold for team Uganda in the 10,000M women race for Stellah Chesang, the same event that Mercyline Chelangat  finished third to take bronze.

Stella Chesang being lifted aloft by excited fans upon arrival Credit: PPU

Fly weight boxer (49 Kgs) Juma Miiro settled for a bronze medal after he lost his semifinal fight India Amit Panghal at the Oxenford Studios.

Solomon Munyo Mutai won silver in the Marathon, in two hours, 19 minutes and 2 seconds.

This was a far much improved performance for Mutai who finished 4th at the last Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The 2018 Marathon was won by Australia’s Michael Shelly, retaining his title in 2:16:46.

[/media-credit] Excited fans with whistles, vuvuzelas and plant branches at Entebbe International Airport Credit: © Kawowo Sports | DAVID ISABIRYE
[/media-credit] Netballer Rachael Nannyonga smiles at the VVIP wing of Entebbe International Airport on Thursday Credit: © Kawowo Sports | DAVID ISABIRYE

The team will be hosted at Entebbe State House on Sunday, 22nd April 2018 by the head of state, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

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

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