By Joseph Kizza
Uganda’s Atlanta Olympics hero Davis Kamoga is stranded in London and has demanded to be flown back home.
“I have run out of money to cater for myself in London. I am going to ask the officials to change my airticket so I return back home tomorrow,” a frustrated Kamoga told New Vision on phone from London.
Kamoga was invited to motivate the team by the Government and given basic upkeep, but has not been accredited among the primary officials. Whereas they offered him an airticket he has not been given assistance to enable him stay outside the Games Village.
He was given an allowance the equivalent of 30 pounds a day but has run out of money.
“London is very expensive. I have spent all I was given and unless I am helped, it is best I return to Kampala.”
“ I buy my own food, I live outside the village but I struggle to get into the village to play my role. Even to get into the village, the minister of sports Charles Bakkabulindi had to intervene. It is best I return home,” Kamoga said.
He narrated that with the guest pass he gets daily, he cannot monitor the team’s training.
“ I have tried to talk and plead to the officials, but no one seems to understand and I have run out of the money I was given,”he said. “ Don’t be surprised to see me in Kampala this week,” he added.
Kamoga is the fastest 400m runner Uganda has ever produced and the last Ugandan to win a medal (bronze) at the Olympics. He also got a World Championship 400m silver medal behind Michael Johnson of the USA.
Johnson is a TV commentator here earning tens of thousands of dollars daily.
"There is a lot I can do to help the athletes. I see a lot of weaknesses especially in attitude," a tearful Kamoga said on phone. " Tell the officials I want to come back home," he added.
He is often seen idling around the games village, waiting for officials to take him inside where he has a soda for lunch.
Only six Ugandans have ever won medals at the Olympics. Only two survive, Kamoga and John Mugabe, the Beast.
The most famous was John Akii-Bua who won the 400m Hurdles in Munich 1972. The others are Eridad Mukwanga 1968 and Leo Rwabogo, 1968 & 1972.
State sports minister Charles Bakkabulindi and Acting Sports Commissioner Omara Apitta are also in London, but could not be reached on phone.
Attempts to call the chef de mission Dennis Galabuzi in London failed, as he was not picking his phone.
Vice President Edward Ssekandi visited the team recently and gave them $1,000 to share.
All athletes and officials living in the Games Village have been given a daily allowance of $72. Many Ministry of Sports officials who live outside the games village get $360 daily and it could not readily be established why Kamoga got less than $100 daily since he stays outside the village.
Many athletes and officials are staying for 24 days, others for 30 days, but according to Ministry officials, they will all get payment for only 15 days. They will therefore get only $36 per day instead of $72.
An ex-Olympian told New Vision that Kenyan athletes pocket $5,000 at each games. He feared to mention what the US athletes get, saying it would de-motivate the Ugandan team.
***** What is your comment? Email firstname.lastname@example.org