President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (in white) flags off the Uganda Olympics team at Kololo Ceremonial Independence Grounds

On Friday, July 9, 2021, the President for the Republic of Uganda, His Excellency General Yoweri Museveni Kaguta Tibuhaburwa has officially flagged off the team Uganda set to represent the country in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paraolympic Games.

The president was accompanied by the first lady who is also the Minister of Sports and Education, Janet Kataha Museveni.

The official flag off ceremony took place at the Kololo Ceremonial Independence grounds in Kampala in a two and half hour event.

The event was attended by 17 of the athletes, Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC), National Council of Sports (NCS) officials, the ambassador of Japan in Uganda, H.E Fukuzawa Hidemoto and the media.

Some of the athletes clad in yellow jackets, matching yellow caps, black tracks and yellow sneakers during the official flag off ceremony at Kololo

In his address, the president specially congratulated all the qualified athletes that will represent Uganda at the Olympics.

I congratulate all the athletes who qualified for the Olympics. This is a great achievement because no one who wants can just go and participate. Even if it were me that I want to represent Uganda because I am president, it would not be possible.

H.E General (Rtd) Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Tibuhaburwa, President for the Republic of Uganda
Team Uganda captain (men) Stephen Kiprotich receives the Uganda flag from President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni at Kololo Ceremonial Independence grounds

He emphasized the 8 pillars of sports as Talent Identification, Fitness, Perseverance, Discipline, Friendships, country promotion, noble Spirit and entertainment as he took time to counsel the athletes on self-discipline.

President Yoweri Museveni and the first lady Janet Kataha at Kololo Ceremonial Independence grounds, Kampala on Friday, 9th July 2021

“Avoid alcohol, womanization and manization. Be disciplined and you will succeed” he cautioned.

Responding to a request from the state sports minister Obua about funding for the regional stadia in Lira (Akii Bua) and Kabarole (Buhinga), the president made a promise with proverbial answer.

“Like a soldier, when the gun is out of bullets, do not surrender, continue fighting with barrel” he added.

President Museveni arrives at Kololo to flag off Uganda Olympics bound team

The first lady, also the minister of sports and education Mrs Museveni encouraged the qualified athletes to strieve and win a precious Olympic medal.

She lauded the Government of Japan for hosting the Olympic Games in unprecedented times.

“I am grateful to the Government and people of Japan for hosting the games. To have the games happening is the resilience of human nature.” She said.

To the athletes, take the attitude of never giving up; sacrifice of comfort, leisure. Carry our national flag high. Voice of hope “Do not give up”. Light with us shall shine to all of us. Use your God given talents to glorify God, serve your country and the people. Do not become contented by mere qualification to the Olympics, strive for more. Aspire to win that Olympic medal. Be of good conduct and discipline. I thank everyone who has assisted in every way. Thank you Honourable Obua because you are a good leader.

Hon. Janet Kataha Museveni, Minister of Education and Sports

The state minister of sports Hon Obua further stressed the theme of the games; “United by emotion”, reflecting the uniting power of sport.

He thanked the Government of Uganda for fully funding the expenses and preparations for team Uganda, pointing to the achievements of taking the biggest contingent ever to the Olympic Games.

L-R: Denis Hamson Obua, H.E Fukuzawa Hidemoto, H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Janet Museveni, Donald Rukare and Beatrice Ayikoru at Kololo

Uganda will feature the biggest number of athletics since 1972. We have set the record to assemble the highest number of ladies compared to men. I thank His Excellency for chartering a flight to the athletes during the first national lockdown. We attribute this triumphant victory to your wise counsel and your proper planning tips – mama Janet. The team will remain in total isolation for in Kapchorwa to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus. We thank you for the contribution of sports sub sector for providing a conducive environment. We salute the gallant sons and daughters for flying the flag of Uganda high. We also extend appreciation to the Embassy of Japan for organizing the training camps in two cities, Permanent secretary and colleagues in Ministry of Education and Sports. This team is fully facilitated by NRM and all allowances already credited to their respective bank accounts. I finally thank the national organizing committee, Uganda Olympic Committee, National Council of Sports and everyone who has done his or her part right.

Hon. Denis Hamson Obua, Minister of State for Sports
State sports minister Hamson Dennis Obua, Beatrice Ayikorum Domenic Otuchet and out-going commissioner of physical education and sports Omara Apitta at Kololo on Friday

The Olympics offers us a special chance to unite. Go promote career, drive to greater heights and make your country proud as you inspire many young ones.

H.E Fukuzawa Hidemoto, Ambassador of Japan in Uganda

In total, the team has 56 people (athletes, technical personnel and other officials.

Minister Obua is the head of delegation whilst Dr. Bernard Patrick Ogwel is general team manager.

Stephen Kiprotich will captain the men whilst the duo of Winnie Nanyonndo and Halima Nakaaayi will lead the women.

The first batch of athletes (four boxers, two athletics people and one swimmer) already left the country.

Meanwhile, the president also launched the Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) at 65 celebrations.

“UOC at 65 years is the celebration of the legacy of the Olympic movement. It shows that the existence of the Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) has lasted for now 65 years since 1955 and a celebration of the heroes and heroines who have participated in the different Olympic activities in Uganda” Moses Mwase, explained.

President Museveni signs during the launch of UOC at 65

Team Uganda Delegation:

Athletics:

Esther Chebet, Sarah Chelangat, Albert Chemutai, Prisca Chesang, Ronald Musagala, Winnie Nanyondo, Halima Nakaayi, Joshua Cheptegei, Jacob Kiplimo, Oscar Chelimo, Stephen Kissa, Peruth Chemutai, Mercyline Chelangat, Immaculate Chemutai, Juliet Chekwel, Stephen Kiprotich, Filex Chemongesi, Fred Musobo, Shida Leni

Boxing:

Catherine Nanziri, Musa Shadir Bwogi, David Kavuma Ssemujju

Rowing:

Grace Kathleen Noble

Swimming:

Kirabo Namutebi, Ambala Atuhaire

Officials:

General officials:

Hon Denis Hamson Obua (head of delegation), William Blick (IOC Member), Dr Donald Rukare (President NOC), Beatrice Ayikoru (Chef De Mission), Dr. Bernard Patrick Ogwel (General Team manager), Dr. Jacqueline Nana Nakiddu (Team doctor), Prossy Namusisi (Physitherapist), Tom Oomen (Physiotherapist), Shadiah Nakamanya (Chaperone), Aisha Nassanga (Media Liaison), Elijah Njawuzi (Team Admin), Ivan Mugowa (Team Admin), Moses Mwase (NOC), Ganzi Mugula (Athletes Representative)

Technical officials:

Adrianus Ruiter (Coach, Athletics – Tokyo), Faustino Kiwa (Coach, Athletics – Sapporo), Gordon Ahimbisibwe (Coach, Athletics – Sapporo), Domenic Otucet (Official – Athletics, Tokyo), Margaret Ijala (Coach – Athletics, Tokyo), Narisesio Bigingo (Coach – Athletics, Tokyo), Benjamin Njia (Coach – Athletics, Tokyo), Andrew Sorowen (Official – Athletics, Tokyo), Patrick Lihenda (Coach, Boxing), Hassan Mohammed Mulandi (Coach, Boxing), Rodrick Muhumuza (Coach, Rowing), Ahsan Iqbal (Coach, Rowing), Muzafaru Muwanguzi (Coach, Swimming), Dunstan Nsubuga (NOC), Sadik Nasiwu (NOC), Salim Ssenkungu Musoke (ITO, Weightlifting), Aciga Fula (ITO, Boxing)

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

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