L-R: Michael Kawooya Raymond, Toon Van Baekel and Jordy Camps during an international Squash tournament

The systematic return of sport in Uganda continues to take a promising trend since late December 2020.

This followed the grey months of the total and partial lock-down that was announced by the Government of Uganda, like the rest of the countries in the world because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

With a provision of at least 200 people in public gatherings in respect to social distancing etiquettes and other standard operating operations (SOP’s) as regular hand washing, sanitizing and wearing of face masks,  most of the outfield sports were blessed.

Football, Rugby, Cricket, Basketball, Golf, Motorsport, Netball, Volleyball, Cycling and several other out-door sports disciplines have been held behind closed doors and sometimes with restricted numbers of fans.

Squash action

In-door sports activities with the exception of badminton are also plotting for return to the scene.

Squash, Chess, Table Tennis, Lawn Tennis, Scramble, Darts and others are steadily planning for stability and return.

The Uganda Squash Rackets Association (USRA) is one of the indoor sports bodies yet to return officially although there have been internal personal training sessions for players.

In fact since February 2020, there has not been any active involvement of Squash players in any sort of tournament, locally or internationally.

David Smith (left) with Uganda’s seed one one player Michael Kawooya

The only two events that were held in 2020 were international in nature which happened in Belgium during the Flint Link International tournament hosted Hasslet city in January 2020 (9th to 12th).

In this tourney, Michael Kawooya fell out in the semi-finals 3-2 to eventual winner Dave Baekel.

He had earlier beaten Jasper Verwith 3-0 during the opening round, overcame Peter Balint 3-1 in round two, edged Phillip Separt 3-2 during the third round and won the quarter final 3-2 against Van Assche.

Kawooya recovered to champion the second tournament (Squash Point International Open) in Geel – Belgium played between 19th to 23rd February 2020.

He beat Callens Lyna (3-1) in the first round, Maris Robin (3-2) during the second round, Azel Cools (3-2) in the quarter finals, Miguel Ruiz (3-1) in semi-finals before edging Vincent Hitchnis 3-2 to win the event.

Paul Kasirye Kadoma wheels off his laggage at Entebbe International Airport from Belgium and Germany during international events in 2018 Credit:

Way forward:

According to Kawooya, Uganda’s current seed one Squash player, the pandemic severely affected the game with many players resting at the confines of their homes.

The COVID-19 pandemic severely affected the game of Squash since there was no training especially in the early stages of the total lock-down. We have steadily returned with light training sessions and hopefully, all will be well in the coming future.

Michael Kawooya, seed one Squash player in Uganda

In Uganda, there are a number of Squash clubs spread around the different corners of the country.

Michael Kawooya with Lode Van Baekel (right)

The capital city, Kampala, alone has a lion’s share of these clubs.

The major one is at Kampala Club Limited, Sheraton Kampala Hotel, Pearl Africa, Makerere University, Kati-Kati -Lugogo, Divine Providence – Ntinda, Speke Resort Munyonyo, Muyenga and Bambo Club.

Up country includes clubs in Jinja, Rock Classic Hotel in Tororo,  Mbale and Lira, among others.

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

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