CORONAVIRUS & SPORTS
Ugandan boxer Fazil Juma Kaggwa says the coronavirus outbreak shattered his dream of qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The Netherlands-based lightweight boxer was set to represent Uganda at the World Boxing Championship in France in May as part of the Tokyo 2020 Qualifiers, but the event was put on hold due to the global crisis.
"I was supposed to have my professional debut on May 2 but decide to reschedule it since UBF (Uganda Boxing Federation) wrote to me informing me to be part of the Bombers team that would take in the Olympic qualifiers. But now it is not possible due to this pandemic," he told New Vision remotely.
Kaggwa, a bronze medallist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, left Uganda in 2016.
He also won bronze at the 2015 Africa Boxing Championship in Casablanca, Morocco.
The 25-year-old athlete, who represented Uganda twice at the AIBA Pro Boxing Series, also saw his brother Juma Miiro win bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Kaggwa is urging fellow Ugandans to follow the guidelines set by health officials.
"Let us follow the instructions set to prevent the spread of this virus. Personally, I stay home, wash my hands and most importantly, I practise social distancing when I meet my friends," he said.
Kaggwa is among the seven boxers lined up to represent Uganda at the second phase of the boxing Olympic qualifiers in France. Others are Yasin Adinan (lightweight), David Ssemujju (middleweight), Alex Bwambale (heavyweight), Cathrine Nanziri (flyweight), Isaac Masembe (featherweight) and Emily Nakalema (welterweight).
The six have a chance to join captain Shadir Musa, who was the first boxer to qualify for the rescheduled Olympic Games.
The Tokyo Olympics were due to begin in July, but were postponed until next year (July 23 - August 8) due to the coronavirus pandemic.