By James Bakama in Glasgow
Team Uganda was dealt a severe blow on Friday with the barring of its main gold medal hope from fighting.
Super heavyweight Mike Sekabembe, who now settles for bronze, was stopped from fighting in the semi-finals under mysterious circumstances.
Tournament doctors declared the fighter unfit due to what they described as an injured hand. This was despite Sekabembe insisting that he was okay.
He had gone for a routine competition-day-check at the athletes’ village when he was ruled out. He was scheduled to fight Englshman Joseph Joyce at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Center last evening.
“They claimed he couldn’t fight because of a fractured fist, which we contested and sought an independent opinion from the games polyclinic,” explained team doctor Ronnie Kaddu.
The medical facility cleared Sekabembe free of any fractures but still noted that he had a sore hand that threatened more injury.
Sekabembe (Blue) in a recent fight at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. PHOTO: Mpalanyi Ssentongo
Team physio Michael Aleku said what the medical officials had called a fracture was simply a small swelling resulting from soft tissue that Sekabembe had had for two fights. “It is nothing serious to stop him from fighting,” he noted.
Sekabembe was devastated after the decision just like coach Dick Katende. “I just can’t believe my efforts have come to this. Is it because I was fighting a Briton?” wondered the boxer.
There has been a strong belief here that fighters from Great Britain have the soft side of the organisers.
Uganda’s Chief de Mission Ambrose Tashobya, UOC president William Blick appealed. Their efforts included a plea to the court of sports arbitration.
A hearing was set but the accused didn’t appear. Sekabembe’s opponent to the contrary went on to be declared winner of the semi-final fight at the SECC as the Ugandan waited for a decision to the contrary at the games village.
Tashobya was Friday still waiting for results from the appeal process. Coach Katende had however written off the cause as a lost battle and was preparing for Uganda second semi-finalist Juma Kaggwa.
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Boxer Sekabembe barred from semi-finals, settles for bronze