New Vision (Kampala)

19 November 2012

Uganda: U.S. Olympic Gold Medalists Tour Ugandan Children Projects

They came in silently and almost left unnoticed. Four US Olympic gold medalists toured children projects in Uruchinga Western Uganda before winding up with a visit to Kasubi on Sunday.

Allyson Felix (athletics), Heather Petri (water polo), Clara Hughes (Speed skating) and Heather O'Reilly (cycling) were in Uganda on a four-day working visit as ambassadors of an international NGO Right To Play.

They moved into Uganda last week from Rwanda and visited Uruchinga refugee settlement on Friday. They thereafter went to Naguru Katalde Primary School, Makindye and Lubya Youth Manpower Development Agency in Kasubi.

"It' feels great to see children with such talent. I am amazed by their leadership skills. Hopefully they will live to achieve their dreams. It's also amazing the kids are so energetic and educated," noted Felix, a four time Olympic gold medalist.

O'Reilly like her other colleagues was equally moved. "The kids are great. I would love to return to Uganda and have more time with them."

Felix's birthday

At Lubya they were treated to an eloquent debate by the pupils about child abuse. They wound up the day with a sports demonstrations which included training tips led by Felix.

Felix, who also holds eight world championship gold medals, almost shed tears of joy at Naguru when the pupils pleasantly surprised her with a birthday song.

"It was pretty cool. They surprised me. They showed me allot of love thousands of miles away from home.

Right To Play is an international organization that uses the transformative power of play to educate and empower children around the world facing adversity.

The organisation has an international team of more than 350 athlete ambassadors from 40 countries worldwide.

They are role models who celebrate and inspire children in Right To Play programmes, and who work to raise awareness about Right To Play and its global impact.

Founder president joins

RTP founder, president and CEO, Johann Olav Koss - a four-time Olympic Gold medallist himself - joined the quartet in Kigali.

"It is an exceptional opportunity to have these accomplished and inspiring women travel to our programs," said Koss.

"They are role models who can show children - young girls in particular - what incredible potential each one of us has if we are given the opportunity to develop it. The energy and enthusiasm these women bring to our programmes, and to the children, is truly magical."

Koss, who said he was impressed by the project in Uganda, left together with the athletes Monday morning.

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