By James Bakama
SHE might be only 15, but she is still Uganda’s best female swimmer –– a fact that explains her presence on the country’s team to the biggest sports event.
Jamila Lunkuse heads to the London Olympic pool with not only two Ugandan records, but also five African medals.
She will be competing in the 50 meters free style.
“She is a big talent. A medal might be a tough call at these games given her age and experience, but don’t be surprised if she surprises the world at the next Olympics,” observed fellow swimmer Ganzi Mugula.
Lunkuse, who is on a sports scholarship at UK’s Plymouth College, has greatly benefited from the sports facilities at the school.
She has daily access to standard pools and gyms and also has regular competitions.
The school’s reputation for mentoring top athletes boasts of a 60-strong elite athlete family of day and boarding pupils, which includes modern pent athletes, fencers, rugby and basketball players.
Swimming is one of the top attractions at Plymouth. No wonder the school will have four swimmers at the Olympics.
Lunkuse will be joined in London by Tom Daley (England), Ruta Meilutyte (Lithuania) and Jade Howard (Zambia). Daley is a European diving champion.
“We have a pretty heavy schedule and are in the pool by 5.30am most mornings. We don’t usually get back to the boarding house before 7pm when I have to do my homework,” Lunkuse said.
“But the teachers are really understanding and I’m able to get an extra day to hand things in if I need to.”
One of the people who will be closely following Lunkuse, will be her father Yusuf Nsibambi.
The Kampala Land Board chairman was is in London to ensure his daughter’s accreditation to the games is in order.
Nsibambi also wanted to make sure Lunkuse was at her best in the ongoing British National Youth Championships in Sheffield.
Lunkuse will be under the watchful eye of her personal coach Lindsay Dunn. The two will join the rest of the Ugandan contingent on Monday.