By Usher Komugisha
Teenage weightlifter Charles Ssekyaaya has received a wild card from the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) to compete in the 2012 Olympics due in London from July 27-August 12.
Ssekyaaya who becomes the first weightlifter to represent Uganda at the prestigious quadrennial games brings the number of Olympians-to-be to 15 with more expected to make it after the ongoing Africa Senior Athletics championships in Benin.
In a letter dated June 25 and signed by the IWF president Tamas Ajan and general secretary Ma Wenguang, the world governing body informed the Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) that Ssekyaaya has been given an opportunity to compete at this year’s Olympics.
Part of it read, “Appreciating your efforts and results achieved by your National Federation on the Qualification Events, we are pleased to inform you that according to the unused quota reallocation policy, we extend the following invitation to your NOC/NF to participate on the London 2012 Olympic Games.”
The UOC has this morning replied in confirmation to the IWF letter showing interest in sending Charles Ssekyaaya to compete in a letter signed by the acting president William Blick, general secretary Peninnah Kabenge, Uganda Weightlifting Federation president Salim Musoke and general secretary Muhammed Kabogozza.
Ssekyaaya finished 28th in the men's category at this year's Africa Olympic Qualifiers that attracted 13 countries and saw Algeria scoop six Gold, five Silver and eight Bronze medals at the event that took place at the Nairobi Charter Hall in Kenya and this was the teenager's last option to London and luckily enough the IWF has considered him.
The double gold medalist at the inaugural Africa Youth Games in Rabat, Morocco in 2010, Ssekyaaya who will feature in the under 62kg has over the past two years been taking part in international meets where he has not disappointed.
The USPA sports personality of this year’s month of April has revealed that this is a dream come true for him, one he dreamt of since his early childhood days and he insists he will not disappoint Ugandans.
His, has been a journey of hard work and consistency that has seen him pile trophies in his cabin including a bronze medal at the 2008 Youth Commonwealth Games in Pune, India but did not fall into medal brackets at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010.
It is through this steadiness that he attained an Olympic Solidarity scholarship from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) through the recommendation of the UOC that has enabled him undergo high level training in the Colorado Springs-a training center in the United States of America since mid-last year.
The following make up the Ugandan contingent that has already qualified for the London event; Moses Ndiema Kipsiro (5000m, 10000m), Annet Negesa (800m), Benjamin Kiplagat (3000m steeplechase), Janet Achola (1500m), Jane Suuto (Marathon), Stephen Kiproitich (Marathon), Jacob Araptany (1500m, 3000m), Geoffrey Kusuro (5000m), Abraham Kiplimo (5000m), Julius Mutekanga (800m) and Thomas Ayeko (10000m), Jamila Lunkuse (swimming), Ganzi Mugula (swimming) and Edwin Ekiring (badminton).