By James Bakama in Busia
THERE were ululations at Mayembe, Dabani subcounty as hundreds of youth toasted to an offer of sports equipment from the International Olympic Committee.
IOC, through its Ugandan affiliate UOC, on Saturday handed over the $15,000 (sh39m) donation to the Francis Nyangweso Olympafrica Center.
The center, named after former IOC and UOC executive member, Maj. Gen. Francis Nyangweso is a talent development hub on the outskirts of Busia town.
“Nyangweso was an accomplished boxer and administrator. We want the center to produce more of such talents. This equipment belongs to all youth in Busia,” said Uganda Olympic Committee president William Blick at the hand over.
Various competition and training equipment for Athletics, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, netball, rugby, volleyball and gymnastics were handed over by Blick.
Part of the equipment was handed to 12 schools neighbouring the center. The schools will as satellite centers for the main project.
“We are going to jealously guard this equipment and we promise you it will be put to proper use,” promised Busia Municipality Member of Parliament Kevina Taaka as the big crowd cheered.
One of the day’s highlights was a display by Gymnastics Association of Uganda (GAU). Gymnasts from Mbale mesmerized the big crowd with several acrobatic displays.
“This is just the beginning of a grand plan. Next on our program is spreading gymnastics countrywide in schools. This should start in October,” said GAU chairman Farouk Baluku.
Baluku explained that an Eastern region championship is also planned for early next year.
Gabriel Oloka, who heads the Olympafrica center, explained that besides physical sport, the center would also be used to teach youth about Olympic ideals. “We have for that matter also established a library where you can come and read.”
UOC also used the occasion to officially launch the Francis Nyangweso Boxing Club at the center. Boxing was the biggest beneficiary of the donation with gloves, uniforms, punching bags, head gear and gum shields.
“Don’t share gum shields. If anyone ever tells you to do so, don’t accept and you should report back to me,” Blick told anxious children.
Various sports events, some of them involving matches between UOC officials from Kampala and Busia residents, were held prior to the grand hand over.
IOC makes donation to Nyangweso center