Government is injecting sh3.1bn in the team to sort out preparations, travel, allowances and accommodation.
If it is indeed true that figures don’t lie, then Uganda should be destined for a good outing at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
For starters, government is injecting sh3.1bn in the team to sort out preparations, travel, allowances and accommodation.
Compare that to the sh400m released for the last games in Scotland. Mind you the bulk of this money was actually released after the team’s return.
Just imagine the morale of Ugandan sportsmen who got a paltry $215 at the time on departure. Whatever remained of the equally little money in allowances was received after the trip!
I remember up to departure day, there was uncertainty. It took the intervention of President Yoweri Museveni for sports authorities to be assured of the team’s travel.
It is a different story this time. Bills will be cleared in advance, and most important, the sportsmen will receive their full allowances before departure.
The team’s size this time is another statement of hope. There has not only been an increase in the size of the contingent, but also number of disciplines Uganda will be involved in.
Uganda will be represented by 69 sportsmen, five more than at the last games. These will be in a total of 11 disciplines. We featured in in nine in 2014 in Glasgow.
There is also a marked increase in the number of women this time. The total of 27 women is the biggest Uganda has ever sent to any major sports event.
The feminine representation is course hugely boosted with the presence netball. Uganda, ranked seventh in the world, is being represented for the first time in this sport at these games.
What’s even more morale boosting is the fact that despite being debutantes, the She Cranes won’t be mere tourists, but actual title contenders.
Government, through National Council of Sports ensured that the netballers are at their best by financing a top tier build-up in Bridgetown, Barbados.
Talking of women, what about the fact that Uganda will this time be led by a woman. It is the first time in Uganda’s 64 year history at the games that its contingent is being headed by a woman.
The woman in charge is none other than Beatrice Ayikoru. The former women’s marathon nation record holder has what is required to ably handle the task.
She serves on world body IAAF’s cross-country committee. She is also Uganda Olympic Committee vice president and UAF secretary.
Team Uganda can only reciprocate this goodwill with medals in Australia. At the last games, operating at minimal investment, we managed to get one gold and four bronze medals.
We should feature even more prominently this time on the overall medal standings.
You surely reap what you sow. What’s even more refreshing is the fact that we stand to perform even much better if this funding is released even earlier.