KAMPALA - Uganda will this year be the privileged destination of many high ranking sports dignitaries.
One month after FIFA president Gianni Infantino’s visit, the head of world athletics Sir Sebastian Coe (pictured top) will also be in Uganda.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) boss will be here to preside over the World Cross Country Championship. Coe will lead what the local organising committee of the March 26 event has described as a big IAAF delegation.
Coe will also be here to preside over Kampala’s handover to Aarhus.
The Danish city, also hosts of the 2014 World Half Marathon, unanimously won the bid to stage the next world cross country in 2019.
Also in Kampala will be Commonwealth Games Federation president Louise Martin. Local organising committee chairman Domenic Otucet recently confirmed that the long serving sports administrator will be at Kololo.
Martin will also be here for the Queens Baton Relay.
This is a Commonwealth Games curtain raiser where the Queen of England delivers a sports message for the quadrennial multi-sport event.
The message moves on a journey from Buckingham Palace to the opening ceremony of the Games, where the message is removed from the Baton and read out by the Queen or a representative.
Team Uganda athletes train for the World Cross Country. (Credit: Mpalanyi Ssentongo)
The next games will be in Gold Coast in Australia next year. Coe has always shown a soft spot for Africa and has advocated for Africa to stage the Olympics.
“We want to build a global capacity in sports, and of course the Olympic Games need to come to Africa at some point,” stated Coe on a 2012 visit to Tanzania.
“It’s absolutely essential at some point. It’s a continent that’s contributed tremendously to athletics,” he stressed.
Following Coe’s retirement from athletics, he was a member of parliament for the Conservative Party from 1992 to 1997 for Falmouth and Camborne in Cornwall, and became a Life Peer on 16 May 2000.
He headed the successful London bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics and became chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games.
In 2007, he was elected a vice-president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), and reelected for another four-year term in 2011. In August 2015 he was elected president of the IAAF.