Dr. Bernard Patrick Ogwel, General Secretary National Council of Sports (NCS)

The COVID-19 pandemic severely affected sport and all spheres of life world-over.

Virtually, the entire world came to a stand-still with no activity for weeks, months that propelled to two complete years.

Uganda was not spared too and sport remained stagnated for this grey patched period.

The National Council of Sports (NCS) General Secretary Dr. Bernard Patrick Ogwel has attested that Uganda as a country realized key positives out of the pandemic.

In a special message prior to the Commonwealth Games bound team, Dr Ogwel cited the new opportunities and realities that came forth.

“I would want to first congratulate all the athletes and federations who have already qualified a number of athletes for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England next month. It has been a long journey also coupled with a period which has remained very remarkable but also created new opportunities and realities arising out of COVID-19” he remarked.

Godwin Kayangwe, Desire Ayera and Bernard Ogwel

Victories and successes to celebrate:

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Ogwel lauds the gallant sportsmen and women for the endless efforts to celebrate the achievements attained.

“As a country, we want to celebrate the victories and successes of our gallant athletes who made it despite those challenges of COVID-19 which has made life a little bit unique and difficult. Having qualified therefore means you deserve to be on the next level and my take on behalf of council is to give assurance of the highest esteem that government is committed to ensuring that you are supported in your preparation and as well as to be able to be presented to the games.” He added.

Dr. Bernard Patrick Ogwel (L) consults with NCS Chairman Ambrose Tashobya

Commonwealth Games preparations:

He has therefore urged the already qualified athletes to remain focused with disciplined training regimes to aim for the treasured medals at the Commonwealth Games.

I appeal to the respective athletes to continue with the discipline and training and focus on the games because I know the coming games in Birmingham Uganda will set another history. We have already set history during the 2018 CWG in Gold Coast Australia where we won six medals. But most remarkable we were able to win several gold medals that we had never won before and so far it’s one of our best outings in the history of the games. We are envisaging a better one.

Dr. Bernard Patrick Ogwel, General Secretary National Council of Sports (NCS)
Dr. Bernard Patrick Ogwel, Anne Abeja and Minister Obua at Mandela National Stadium, Namboole (Credit: David Isabirye)

Government support:

To prepare the respective teams, the Commonwealth Games Association of Uganda, Uganda Olympic Committee and the National Council of Sports (NCS) all join hands to raise resources that drive the teams.

We are doing everything right and within timelines of government to ensure that the required competition gadgets, logistics and facilitations for our team will be delivered on time. As of now, almost all federations have been supported to ensure teams are in camps getting ready for the games except one federation which just submitted its accountability late but we shall be able to work and get the required support for them. But again to reiterate that team Uganda through the national organizing committee chaired by the honorable State Minister for sport which also has national council of sports representatives, Uganda Olympic Committee as well as ministry of education and sports has been having several planning meetings (the latest was held on 8th June 2022), the committee will again sit and fast track on what has been achieved and also to gazette what needs urgency. This is to align our strategies and focus for the games. We know that athletics final listing will be done after 24th June 2022 at the end of the Africa championship in Mauritius which is already underway. This will give us opportunity now out of over 40 athletes whom I am being told are already within qualification grade to get the best to fill the slots allocated for the team. We also believe that immediately after that, all our teams will then be in camp and putting final touches to their preparations. I want to encourage federation leaders to be in charge and close to the athletes who have already qualified and keep on orienting them to best practices that’s required especially as we plan now for them to go to the UK. The discipline required, the competition rules and the other check list that is very important. As of now, we are working on the visa issues of all the participants. We are also looking at the aspect of our budgets that need to be aligned prior to the end of the financial year because we are expecting the last schedule of government support for the games by 15th July which is the next financial year of government. So, on behalf of the secretariat and national council of sports and on my own behalf, I relay my high regards to all stakeholders who have worked left and right to post a good image, publicity and strategies for our team qualification. Needless to mention, allow me to thank the honorable minister of state for sports (Hon. Hamson Denis Obua) for the leadership and the ministry of education and sports technocrats through the permanent secretary for all input in this campaign that is nearing its most important period. Importantly we thank the Minister for education and sports Honorable Janet Museveni for ensuring the required funding is availed and to national council of sports and Uganda Olympic committee for the administrative support rendered. I cannot forget to thank the media in many ways for making our campaign real and visible but also address the concerns that today we are celebrating in terms of responses from partners and also from government in terms of the needs that are being addressed now. For God and My Country.

Dr. Bernard Patrick Ogwel, General Secretary – National Council of Sports

At the forthcoming Commonwealth Games, Uganda will field various sports ranging from Athletics, Netball, Rugby, Table Tennis, Swimming, Badminton to Weightlifting.

Dr Ogwel with the Commissioner in charge of secondary schools education Sam Kuloba in Paris, France during the 2022 ISF World School Games (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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