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Sweet science turns sour

By Vision Reporter

Added 10th April 2005 03:00 AM

I say So
IT is names like Kassim Ouma, Ayub Kalule, John Mugabi, Boza Edwards, Leo Rwabwogo and John Akii Bua that come to mind when you mention Uganda on the international sport scene.

IT is names like Kassim Ouma, Ayub Kalule, John Mugabi, Boza Edwards, Leo Rwabwogo and John Akii Bua that come to mind when you mention Uganda on the international sport scene.
Save for Akii Bua , the list shows that it is our pugilists who have most times raised the Ugandan flag.
You would expect such ring brilliance to be a result of an equally competent leadership. That is ironically not the case.
Uganda Amateur Boxing Federation provides a classic case of a sports body that has failed to rhyme with modern trends where sports is a ‘commodity’ to be marketed.
While fringe games like rugby and cricket today can mobilise whatever resources they require, securing even basics like meals in UABF, is an uphill task.
Not even the fact that one of the world’s most powerful sports personalities cut his teeth in local boxing, has helped Ugandan sport.
Maj. Gen. Francis Nyangweso, an IOC executive member, is also a vice president on the world boxing governing body.
But it’s in Uganda where pugilists still share gum shields and stage fights without doctors.
All this is barely a year since tycoon Michael Ezra put Ugandan boxers into paradise, took them to the Olympics before officials turned against him.
The national side could access any competition, were accommodated in five star hotels, had full medical attention besides a stipend that left most officers envious.
But for all this, what some UABF officials did was convince the boxers to escape from camp. You have certainly heard that saying that there are some people who cannot be helped.
The latest ordeal involved a hungry team uncertain of travel to Nairobi for the Zone Five Championship. The team’s welfare in Kenya is also in doubt.
So, would you expect such fighters to shed blood and sweat for their nation? Interestingly, Ugandan fighters have always emerged from such squalor to shine.
But these Houdini-like shows are not explained by patriotism. It’s the comfortable life expected later in the professional ranks that drives our amateurs to excellence.
In the seventies when the boxers had all they required, Uganda was ranked third in the world.
We can regain that status. All we require is a UABF run by people who can market the sport.
Ends

Sweet science turns sour

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