The different winners pose with their plaques (Credit: John Batanudde)

Nile Special USPA Awards (2019):

  • Overall Top Sports Personality: Joshua Cheptegei
  • Fans’ choice Award: Joshua Cheptegei
  • Male Athlete of the year: Joshua Cheptegei
  • Legendary Awards winner: Neko Muduse Ojara

It was pop and style as the Uganda Sports Press Association (USPA) successfully held the 2019 glamorous awards gala exclusively sponsored by Nile Special at the spacious Victoria Ballroom of Kampala Serena Hotel on Wednesday, 18th November 2020.

The current 10,000M and 5000M world record holder Joshua Cheptegei was for the second year running crowned as the overall sportsman, albeit in absentia during an event where winners hand-picked accolades from the podium, a style of the new normal to mitigate the spread of the highly contagious Coronavirus.

Cheptegei won three awards on the night, including the overall accolade, best male athlete and the fans’ choice award at a time USPA was also celebrating 50 years of existence.

Joshua Cheptegei celebrates victory on the track field Credit: Philippe Fitte | Wanda Diamond League

The Master of Ceremony Mark Ssali read out his name firmly much to the applause of the guests on an evening decimated by electoral related riots in the capital city, Kampala and a couple of other towns.

Represented by the Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) president, Cheptegei  easily toppled Halima Nakaayi (best female athlete) and Emmanuel Arnold Okwi (best footballer) for the overall as well as fans’ choice categories respectively.

Uganda Athletis Federation President Dominic Outchet picked Joshua Cheptegei’s main award (Credit: John Batanudde)
Veteran sports analyst Mark Ssali was Master of Ceremony (Credit: John Batanudde)

With the legendary and age-less Afrigo Band providing the entertainment all evening round in an event where constant sanitizing and wearing of face masks was emphasized, athletes plus special guests dinned and wined  on tables spaciously placed between each other.

A delicious lunch was served to the invited guests (Credit: John Batanudde)
Joanita Kawalya of Afrigo entertains the guests (Credit: John Batanudde)

Best female athlete Nakaayi delivered a moving speech, recounting the bold testimony where hard work has propelled her to success thus far.

I thank the Almighty God for enabling us gather us. Success is a gradual process and by choice. Always, It has been a journey. I started at a young age. My dad did not first give me a go ahead while my mother encouraged. I got a bursary from Primary four until I completed my degree because of sports. Success is by  choice, not matter where you come from, the size and tribe. I keep training and people keep shouting at me who will marry me, what am I chasing and the like but such comments do not discourage me. One day, I was declared dead during a championship at Bombo but I did not lose focus.

Halima Nakaayi, best female athlete
Halima Nakaayi and Dominic Outchet picked UAF’s award for best organized sports federation (Credit: John Batanudde)
Samiya Ayikoru, best female rugby player (Credit: John Batanudde)

A cake to celebrate the silver jubilee of this sports body was cut and served to all the guests.

USPA celebrated the 50 years of celebration in style with a cake served to the guests. L-R Nile Special brand manager Francis Nyende, Standard Chartered Bank’s Cynthia Mpanga, Patrick Kanyomozi and Douglas Mazune

In his remarks, USPA president Patrick Kanyomozi lauded the past USPA leadership, sponsors and partners, sportsmen and everyone who has done has part despite the Coronavirus pandemic that ravaged sport for the better part of 2020.

He urged the Government to consider the development of sports facilities, a vivid feat that grows the sector and consequently the sports media wing.

The Coronavirus pandemic affected our personal and professional lives.  As we embrace the new normal in the midst of the pandemic. We strive for the growth of the sports sector. If it grows we also grow. At this point, I appeal to Government to help in the development of sports amenities and facilities in Uganda. We thank our sponsors and partners as Nile Special, Standard Chartered Bank, Pepsi, NSSF and City Tyres. We also thank the French Embassy in Kampala. We have not been able to have several sportsmen and invited guests because of the situation in the country (security) and a few other personal commitments.

Patrick Kanyomozi, President Uganda Sports Press Association (USPA)
Janet Mbabazi was best female cricketer . She also collected the accolade for the male counterpart Shazad Kamal (Credit: John Batanudde)
Isaac Mubikirwa, body builder of the year (Credit: John Batanudde)
Rita Nakhumitsa, Table Tennis player of the year (Credit: John Batanudde)

Dr. Donald Rukare, the Chairman of the National Council of Sports (NCS) congratulated all the nominees and eventual winners for the effort undertaken.

Rukare. a lawyer by profession urged USPA to a forge a formal working relation with the NCS for better service delivery.

I congratulate all the nominees and winners, you are all winners. With the vaccine being worked upon, It is our hope that we can co-exist with COVID-19. I urge USPA to come up with a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with National Council of Sports (NCS) to better the working relations.

Donald Rukare, Chairman National Council of Sports (NCS)
Babirye Martha and Joseph Cwinaayai show off the trophy for Uganda Golf Union (UGU) who organized the best sports event of the year (Credit: John Batanudde)
Malehandball player of the year Ibrahim Kongo shows off his accolade(Credit: John Batanudde)
Pius Ogena, best male rugby player of the year

Francis Nyende, Nile Special Brand Manager hinted to the bold fact that sports is a great tool of effective representation for the country and therefore should be taken seriously.

He vowed for continuous harmonious coordinal partnership with USPA going forward.

All sports disciplines, you are great ambassadors of this country. 2020 has been very challenging because of COVID-19. We are bracing ourselves for a great 2021 with or without COVID-19. This is an amazing event. Thank you USPA executive and your team. I congratulate you for reaching 50 years. This is not a mean feat. This is 50 years of celebrating Uganda’s sportsmen. We have had a great partnership that spans over 10 years. We want to see USPA prosper beyond 50 years and possibly another 100 years.

Francis Nyende, Nile Special Brand Manager

One of the winners on the night, Daniel Muhigo, the best badminton male player called for a cash reward to be added to the plaque for the different winners.

Yasin Nasser and Ali Katumba. rally crew of the year (Credit: John Batanudde)

“I am grateful for this award. It is not the first and the last. The first time I won this award was in 2012. I had injuries in between and I am back. When your heart is big, you win. I humbly request such awards come with some cash” Muhigo pointed.

Neko Muduse Ojara, a god father in the volleyball sport was named the legendary award winner.

74 Year Old Neko Muduse Ojara (Credit: John Batanudde)

The Uganda Athletics Federation (UAF) emerged as the best run sports federation.

The 2019 Uganda Golf Open series held at the Lake Victoria Serena Golf and Spa Resort was best organized sports event as the Uganda U-17 girls football team was outstanding team of the year.

USPA will at the end of this month engage in a peaceful electoral process in a democratic setting to determine the new executive.

Kanyomozi is tipped to retain his seat for another two year term.

FUFA CEO Edgar Watson Suubi reieved the best footballer of the year award on behalf of Emmanuel Arnold Okwi. (Credit: John Batanudde)

All Winners (2019)


  • Men: Joshua Cheptegei
  • Women: Halima Nakaayi


  • Men: Daniel Muhigo
  • Women: Aisha Nakiyemba

Body Building:

  • Isaac Mubikirwa


  • David Ssemujju


  • Male: Harold Wanyama
  • Female: Maria Nakanyike


  • Men: Shazad Kamal
  • Female: Janet Mbabazi


  • Men: Emmanuel Arnold Okwi
  • Female: Juliet Nalukenge


  • Men: Patrick Ochieng
  • Women: Sarah Makanga


  • Tom Kasozi


  • Patricia Apolot


  • Men: Brian Gwaaka
  • Women: Denise Nanjeru


  • Zubair Kubo


  • Men: Ibrahim Kongo
  • Women: Lillian Achola


  • Men: Pius Ogena
  • Women: Samiya Iyikoru


  • Men: Daudi Okello
  • Women: Grace Akiror


  • Stellah Oyella


  • Gift Ssebuguzi (11 Years Old)

Motor-rally crew:

  • Yasin Nasser & Ali Katumba


  • Troy Zziwa


  • Men: Tendo Mukalazi
  • Women: Kirabo Namutebi


  • Ian Rukunya


  • Men: Emmanual Baguma
  • Female: Norah Alum


  • Men: Joseph Cwinyaii
  • Female: Martha Babirye


  • Men: James Okello
  • Female: Hope Akello


  • Men: Ibrah Ssejjemba
  • Women: Zaimat Nambafu

Table Tennis: Rita Nakhumitsa

Best Organized Sports Events in 2019:

  • 2019 Uganda Golf Championship at Lake Victoria Serena Resort

Team of Year, 2019:

  • Uganda U-17 Girls Team

Overall Sports Personality of 2019

  • Joshua Cheptegei

Legendary Award Winner: Neko Muduse Ojara

Dancing off at Nile Special USPA Gala (Credit: John Batanudde)

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

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