International Swimming Federation (FINA) president Captain Dr. Husain AHZ Al-Musallam (holding flowers) moments after arrival in Uganda (Credit: David Isabirye)

A young Ugandan swimmer Ahmed Tatiana, accompanied by the sister Madinah Akeelah held a fresh bouquet of flowers in the VIP section of Entebbe International Airport.

Tatiana’s moment to shine arrived moments later as she handed over the flowers to the World Swimming body, International Swimming Federation (FINA) president Captain Dr. Husain AHZ Al-Musallam on his first ever visit to Uganda, the Pearl of Africa.

Ahmed Tatiana (holding flowers) with Madinah Akeelah. Both are international pupils at Aga Khan International School Credit: David Isabirye)

Al-Musallam commenced a two day working visit to Uganda on Thursday, March 17, 2022.

The Kuwait billionaire was accompanied by the FINA Executive Director John Brent Nowicki, FINA vice president (CANA President) Sam Ramasamy, El Chaykh Ahmad Al Saabi (Executive Assistant to FINA President), Nikolaus Schonfeldt (Executive Assistant to FINA Executive Director), Alex Szanto as well as two World Olympic swimming champions Ferry Weertman and Ranomi M. Kromowidjojo.

The visiting delegation traveled by a private jet and was received at Entebbe International Airport by Donald Rukare, a board member of FINA as well as Uganda Swimming Federation (USF) president Moses Mwase.

The visitors checked in at the VIP wing before they addressed the media.

International Swimming Federation (FINA) president Captain Dr. Husain AHZ Al-Musallam (Credit: David Isabirye)

I am here (in Uganda) to witness for myself how swimming and other aquatic sports is at the moment. There is a big concern of facilities which we want to address. I want to see for myself, talk to the swimmers, coaches, swimming officials, government officials and other leaders. There is urgent need to improve the technical standards of swimming and encourage as many young swimmers as possible to take up the sport

International Swimming Federation (FINA) president Captain Dr. Husain AHZ Al-Musallam
Captain Husain Al Musallam with Moses Mwase (right) at Entebbe International Airport (Credit: David Isabirye)

USF president Mwase expressed delight upon hosting the FINA president for the first time in history.

He thus envisages this visit as a complete blessing to Uganda as a country and particularily to the swimming family.

Moses Mwase with the media during an interface at the VIP wing of Entebbe International Airport (Credit: David Isabirye)

We are delighted to host the president of FINA for the first time in history. This is testament of how far we have come. We need to grow the sport, focus on athletes’ development. We shall front the element of an international standard swimming facility among other concerns.

Moses Mwase, President Uganda Swimming Federation (USF)

2016 Olympic gold medalist in the open water category, Ferry Weertman expressed delight upon visiting Uganda as he openly revealed helping as many young swimmers prepare for full professional swimming.

“First you have to have the dream, belief and work hard to achieve the dream. Young swimmers need to inject extra effort to achieve big” Weertman, a Dutch retired swimmer urged.

World Olympic swimming champion Ferry Weertman with two Ugandan young swimmers (Credit: David Isabirye)

The visit of the FINA president to Uganda and the region is humbling. It will boost the swimming sport. The athletes’ visit is equally significant for they inspire many of the swimmers who dream big to join the worlld stage.

Dr. Donald Rukare, President Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC)
Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) president Donald Rukare is pleased by the FINA president’s visit to the CANA Zone IV region (Credit: David Isabirye)

The visiting delegation will visit the first lady as well as minister of education and sports later on Thursday evening at State House before they will be hosted to a dinner at Sheraton Kampala Hotel.

On Friday, they will interact with the swimmers and other leaders as well as the media before departing for Egypt.

The delegation has also visited Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.

Commissioner of physical education Rev Duncans Mugumya (right) with the swimming delegation [Credit: David Isabirye]

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

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