Ronald Otile and the She Cranes contributed to a memorable 2015 for Ugandan sport and the public has given back.
Otile and the She Cranes have been crowned Sports Personality of the Year and Team of the Year respectively according to a New Vision poll to end 2015.
Golfer Otile claimed 40% of the valid votes cast, beating four other challengers in a category that attracted candidates from netball, football, chess and body building. She Cranes star Rachel Nanyonga came second with 20%, followed by Cranes and Vipers new talent Farouk Miya (15%), chess master Arthur Segwanyi (13%) and Mr Universe Ivan Byekwaso (4%).
In the Team of the Year category, 2015 netball World Cup participants She Cranes snatched a massive 70% victory, with the Rugby Cranes, who gained promotion to Rugby Africa Division 1A finishing a distant second with 20%. The Uganda Cranes rounded out the vote with 10%, leaving the Vipers and national golf team empty-handed.
In an epic 2015 season, Otile won both the amateur and professional crowns of the Uganda Open and finished second at the All Africa Golf Championship in addition to helping the national team claim the Zone Six and East African Golf Challenge.
Otile was ecstatic when informed of his latest victory.
"Thank you for the news," Otile said. "I am so happy because I can't say I expected to win the vote. I thought I could finish in the top three but I wasn't sure about winning."
He added, "When the year started, I knew I had to work hard because Willy Kitata, who was the leader in the amateurs had gone. So I put in a lot of hard work and practice and that is why I had a good year".
She Cranes manager Jocelyn Uchanda was even more euphoric when informed about her team's winning the New Vision poll, which had 235 participants.
"Wow, wow, wow," Uchanda oohed. "We are greatly honoured and humbled to be rewarded by Ugandans. Our girls deserved to be at the World Cup. They were resilient and focused despite going through several challenges."
Sports Personality of the Year 2015
Ronald Otile – 40%
Rachel Nanyonga - 20%
Farouk Miya - 15%
Arthur Segwanyi - 13%
Ivan Byekwaso - 4%
Team of the Year 2015
She Cranes – 70%
Rugby Cranes – 20%
Uganda Cranes – 10%
Vipers – 0%
National golf team – 0%