By James Bakama
Sports Personality of 2013: Stephen Kiprotich
Team of the Year 2013: City Oilers Basketball Club
Legendary Award Winner: Kezekia Ssegwanga Musisi
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STEPHEN Kiprotich was crowned Nile Special USPA Personality of the Year on a grand night where the athlete and special guest Ezekiel Kemboi also treated the audience to a dance.
Multiple medallist Kemboi, who celebrates his steeplechase victories with a dance, did exactly that when prompted for a dose at Imperial Royale Hotel on Saturday night. Together with Kiprotich they sent the audience into cheers swinging to a popular Kikuyu tune.
World marathon champion Kiprotich was crowned by Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga. Kiprotich becomes the third winner to retain the prestigious award.
The national soccer side-the Cranes was the first in 1989 and 1990. Athlete Moses Kipsiro also attained the feat in 2007 and 2008.
“I am very happy for winning the award again. I also thank my sponsors for supporting me,” a beaming Kiprotich said promising even more medals.
Smartly clad in a black suit and a white shirt, Kiprotich beat basketball cum netball star Peace Proscovia and the rally crew of Jas Mangat and Gihan da Silva to the big prize.
In her speech, Kadaga promised to follow up the issue of increased sports funding. Presiding over the gala Kadaga promised to take up the matter in the House.
“I will speak about it. We indeed need to do more,” noted Kadaga.
Kadaga said she was touched when Kiprotich won Olympic gold after training from Kenya using personal resources.
She also highlighted her long attachment to sports having been raised in what was for long Uganda’s sports capital: Naguru Housing Estate.
Kenyan Kemboi used the occasion to urge the Uganda government to put in place incentives for sportsmen.
“In Kenya when you win gold, you get $10,000. Madam speaker take it to Parliament. Appreciate your athletes,” said the multiple Olympic and world championship gold medallist.
Charles Muhangi, the 1999 USPA Sports Personality of the Year, had earlier asked the organisers to reward the sports stars with cash. He offered $100 (sh250,000) to each winner.
“Winning comes after pain. Winners should be rewarded in money terms. You are drinking and eating here because of these winners.”
USPA president Mark Namanya urged members of the scribes body to safeguard the norms of the association that have enabled them stand the test of time for over 40 years.
He thanked sponsors Nile Special, City Tyres, Standard Chartered Bank, NIC and UBOS for the continued support.