New Vision (Kampala)

19 June 2012

Uganda: Track and Field Team Kicked Out of Namboole

The Uganda sprinters' hopes of qualifying for the London 2012 Olympic Games have come down tumbling after Namboole stadium management kicked out the national track and field championships in preference for a spiritual crusade.

However, the stadium acting manager Parity Twinomujuni has offered to cater for five air tickets for selected athletes to travel for the Africa Senior Championships in Benin as a way of keeping their qualification dreams alive. He has also decided to make available the outer tartan track for the national event due Friday and Saturday to save the athletes from injury.

Last week, minister of state for sports Charles Bakkabulindi advised the stadium to give priority to the sports event after the dates clashed with the crusade though the athletics federation had made a booking as early as February. However, Namboole management could not change their mind after signing contract of sh160m to host the one-day crusade by Happy Science.

"The 200m dash start point will be affected by the stage and there was no way they would hold the event inside. It is the problem of double booking which we inherited from the past management but we are trying to find a solution," said Twinomujuni.

Local athletics federation president Dominic Otuchet said they had needed the inside track because of the electronic timer and wind gauge, for the sprinters.

"In the series of meetings that we have been involved in, it appears like certain decisions had already been taken. They had suggested to compensate us with sh5m but we asked them to facilitate the athletes to travel to Porto Novo," explained Otuchet.

Efforts to contact the minister for comment were futile as he was in series of meetings.

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