Heads of Sports Federations have asked the government to provide timely funding to enable the commonwealth teams adequately prepare for the forthcoming Birmingham Games.
Uganda is expected to have more than 10 sports disciplines at the 2022 Common Wealth Games that will be held in July and August. These include boxing, table tennis, athletics, netball, and rugby sevens, among others.
The federation heads believe that it will be unnecessary to receive funds a few weeks before the games.
Moses Muhangi, the President of the Uganda Boxing Federation says that if funds are disbursed late, it will have impact on the preparations of the athletes.
“As I have always argued, athletes only compete effectively when they have had enough preparations for the games, other than that they are just going for tourism, for the case of boxing, the boxers who will compete in the commonwealth are already taking part in the world championship in Istanbul, which is not the case for Uganda,” Muhangi said.
Adding that; “I would have been excited if the money came six months ago to enable us to take the team for buildup games, the best thing would be to have the money early enough”.
Muhangi explained that Uganda Boxing Federation had planned to take its team to different international competitions to help them in assessing the performance of their athletes before the games but none of their plans went through due to the unavailability of funds.
“First of all, you identify a team out of the many boxers as the first step, the second step is to have non-residential training before you engage in build-up competitions and later have athletes in a residential camp before joining the final competition if you don’t have resources you miss all those procedures”, Muhangi said.
Boxing was given six slots across all AIBA recognized weight categories for the 2022 edition of the commonwealth. Muhangi says the selection will be based on the performance of players in the ongoing local boxing champions league.
Robert Jaggwe, President of the Uganda Table Tennis Association explained that they have tried to have preparations, but they will be effective if they are funded.
Our efforts to get a comment from the National Council of sports went futile after an official referred our reporter to the chairman of the National Olympic Committee. “I would refer you to the NOC, and that NOC is chaired by the minister, that is the body which is in charge of all matters involved in the commonwealth”
Earlier this month, Denis Hamson Obua, the State Minister for Education and Sports told MPs that the government had prepared 7.1 Billion Shillings for preparations for the games.
He further explained that the Finance Ministry will release funds in two installments – in the fourth quarter of the Financial Year 2021/2022 and the first quarter of the Financial Year 2022/2023 to facilitate the teams in qualification and preparation.
Team disciplines including netball and rugby sevens have already qualified for the event. She Cranes qualified by virtue of their world ranking as of January 2022. They rank 6th globally and 2nd in Africa while Uganda Rugby Cranes sevens qualified after winning the African Rugby sevens cup of nations in April this year.
On the other side, selection of Individual sports’ athletes will be done by the respective sports federations and this will depend on the performance of the athletes.
Uganda’s athletes will be looking forward to another impressive performance in the games. During the 2018 Gold coast edition, Uganda finished 15th overall after winning 6 medals, three gold, one silver, and two bronze medals. Five medals came from athletics while one came from boxing.