By James Bakama
CONSTANCE Mbambu, a student at St Kizito SS in Bugolobi, has made history by becoming the first Ugandan rower ever to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games.
Mbambu sparkled at the World Junior Rowing Championships in Trakai, Lithuania to book a slot the 2014 games. The games will be held in in Nanjing, China next September.
The Youth Olympics is an international multi-sport event held every four years. The age limitation of the athletes is 14 to 18.
Uganda Olympic Committee president William Blick said they are working jointly with local associations to ensure that the country is well represented in China.
Mbambu qualified in the 2000 meter scull event. Mbambu turns out for Luzira’s Luzira’s Greenbelt Rowing Club. Greenbelt chairman Charles Batambuze was thrilled by his rower’s performance.
Athlete Zakaria Kiprotich won Uganda a bronze in the 2000m steeplechase at the last edition of the games in Singapore in 2010. Uganda was also represented badminton, swimming and weightlifting.
“Mbambu’s performance has now improved her global ranking by the International Rowing Federation (FISA) to number 27 amongst junior rowers,” he explained yesterday.
Tomas Friedhoff, the manager Team Uganda was all praises for what he described as a stellar performance. “She worked harder than everyone else, knowing well that she had come against tough competition from more experienced rowers from Europe.”
Mbambu travelled to Lithuania from an elite training program in the Netherlands.
Friedhoff and Batambuze plan to keep Mbambu active as she prepares for the games.
“We shall continue to work with the Uganda Rowing Federation and the Uganda Olympic Committee to keep the Olympic Solidarity scholarship that facilitated her 3 months training sojourn in the Netherlands”, said Batambuze.
Another junior single sculler, Alfred Okello will next month also contest for a slot in Nanjing at the African Qualification Regatta.