7 May 2012

Uganda: Nation's Ekiring Qualifies for Second Olympics

Kampala — As the Uganda Olympic Committee members continue going at each other's throats, talk of the London 2012 Olympics are fading by the day. Some athletes are however working hard to be at the games due this summer.

Edwin Ekiring, a badminton player who has single handedly helped keep Uganda's flag high at both continental and International meets has again managed to qualify for this year's Olympics.

In January 2007 in the All Africa Games in Algiers (Algeria) Badminton was the first sport to earn Uganda as a country its first medal, a Bronze won by Edwin Ekiring. In the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Uganda Badminton Association managed to qualify an athlete for the first time in Olympic history.

This will be his second Olympics after the Holland based player qualified for the Beijing games in 2008 where he lost in the round of 32 to the Asian 2008 Champion Sunghwan Park of Korea.

He was confirmed for the London 2012 Olympic Games as the Badminton World federation released the final list of qualifiers last week. Ekiring, who was ranked 98 in the World qualified for the slot for the African continent.

Speaking to the East African Business Week in an exclusive interview last week, Ekiring said that the experience he gained in the past games would help him in his quest to move up the rankings.

"First I need to prepare well for the Olympics; I'll be going to Chennai, India for a month's training. Then I'll target at finishing in at least the last 16 or the last eight," Ekiring said.

He however said that the UOC wrangles were also hampering his Olympic preparations because there's no money being released.

"It has been a tough 12 month qualification period and yet I did everything on my own. This is the time they (UOC) have to be doing something," Ekiring said.

Ekiring told the East African Business Week that he had wanted to become a footballer while growing, He says that he hopes to qualify for the next Olympics in 2016.

The UOC has for the better part of the year been embroiled in wrangles that only deepened when the Executive committee resolved to suspend Mr. Rogers Ddungu as the UOC President.

Following their decision, Ddungu wrote a number of emails to the International Olympic Committee challenging the decision.

The IOC has stepped in and advised UOC to hold an extraordinary general assembly in two weeks' time and solve their internal wrangles. While the other East African nations already stepped up preparations ahead of the games last year, Uganda was busy sorting out personal differences. Another disastrous campaign could therefore be within

It only remains to be seen whether these wrangles will be resolved in time to enable the athletes get better preparation ahead of the games just as their East African counterparts have done.

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