Ivan Byekwaso (middle) won the Mr. Uganda contest at Mt. Zion Hotel on Saturday. Mubarak Kizito (left) and Ben Lukwago came second and third respectively
By Michael Nsubuga
Lack of regular competition and motivation in the Uganda Body Building and Fitness Association continued to bog down the level of competition that was witnessed over the past years.
The year started with a lot of promise from the newly elected executive who promised to revive the way they were running the association in order to attract corporate sponsorship.
Key among the plans was the registration of all clubs in the country, training of officials and judges and opening of an association’s bank account. However, none of these were achieved.
But Daniel Komunda, the organising secretary says despite the hitches’ the executive of late is working as a team to take the sport forward and is optimistic more corporate sponsorship will come on board in 2014.
Only two local events
Like last year, the association only managed to stage just two local competitions in 2013; the Mr. Kampala and the Mr. Uganda championships.
With the meagre sponsorship from XL Energy Drink and Mt. Zion Hotel, they were able to stage the Mr. Kampala championship that was won by Ben Lukwago.
The Be Active Gym middle weight muscleman took advantage of the absence of former winner Rashid Kassim and Ivan Byekwaso to beat five other finalists and bag his third title in 14 years.
Robert Ssennyonjo took the bantam weight, Samuel Kalema (lightweight), Ali Katamba (welter) with Robert Yiga and Douglas Ssebugwawo winning the light heavy and heavy weight categories respectively.
After shunning local events for what he described as lack of competition, Byekwaso returned to win the Mr. Uganda championship for the fourth time.
Competing in the middle weight he beat 56 contestants to win the crown at Mount Zion Hotel. The 2013 Nile special/USPA Bodybuilder of the Year looked the better prepared, excelling in the individual poses with unique body moves, easily beating Edward Mugerwa and Frank Kabbwe for the accolade.
Flyweight winner Mubarak Kizito came shockingly second, with last year’s winner Kassim Rashid in third while reigning Mr. Kampala Lukwago was fourth.
Continental event shunned
Another privately organised Musclemania Africa Championship held at La Bonita in Kampala in October had Kenya’s Mike Otieno Obuya, Hassan Juma and Dennis Otieno making a 1-2-3 finish. For lack of clear prizes the continental championship was also poorly attended though it acts as a qualifier to the World Musclemania Championship in the US.
Byekwaso who has been a regular contestant in the Muscle Meddy Fitness and Musclemania Africa organised event did no compete giving the Kenyans to run away with the title for the second time.
But he made amends when he avenged Uganda’s loss by claiming the Mr. Kericho championship in November. The event organised as part of the World Aids Day celebrations had Byekwaso competing in his favourite middleweight category with 14 other contestants.
He beat them to the title, before he overcame the five winners in the other categories that included Kenyan champion Obuya Otieno, in the final.
It was the second time that Byekwaso was winning in Kericho after his 2010 triumph. Other top performers on the Ugandan team included Isaac Mubikirwa (light-heavy) who finished second, Sam Kalema (light-heavy) and Lubega Walukagga (welter) who finished third in their respective categories. The Power Horse sponsored team won a combined Ksh115,000 (sh2.7m) with Byekwaso getting the Lion’s share of Ksh80,000.
Visa hitch, funds peg back Byekwaso
Fred Munyagwa, an executive committee member who has been the key figure behind the few local events held and led the team to Kenya, says Uganda should have won more events if they had sent a bigger team out.
Byekwaso, who over the years has been carrying Uganda’s flag on the international scene, could not make it this time after being denied a UK visa in February. He was set to compete in the Miami Pro World Bodybuilding Championships.
He had already secured an air ticket from businessman Michael Majeed. The muscleman’s woes did not stop there. He also failed to find sponsorship to the Musclemania Universe Championship in the US.
The event that was held June 27-30 is one of the leading natural bodybuilding events with international television coverage by ESPN and other worldwide TV networks. It is recognised more than any other contest worldwide.
After the Kenya outing NCS General Secretary Jasper Aligawesa advised the UBBFA to introduce the sport in Uni-