New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Local Bodybuilding Short of Funding

Lack of sponsorship continued to affect body building with the Uganda Body Building and fitness Association managing to stage only one competition throughout the year.

The second edition of the annual Musclemania competition held in October was the only major competition to talk about in the year although even then the turn-up of the competitors was small compared to last year's event.

Kenya's heavyweight body builder Michael Otieno won the Musclemeddy Fitness sponsored event with defending champion Ivan Byekwaso finishing as runner-up.

The event was spiced up with the inaugural power lifting championship sponsored by South African based power-lifter Roy Mubiru.

Ivan Byekwaso who has been a dominant figure in the sport in the country blames the low turn up on lack of clear prizes for the top performers in such competitions.

"Bodybuilders put in a lot of effort and cash to maintain their bodies and they should be able to get something at the end of such competitions. We are tired of just showing off on stage and later walk away like class teachers after giving lessons," Byekwaso a four-time Mr. Uganda said.

The sport seems to be destined to struggle more as the UAABF leadership has failed to find potential sponsors for their events since losing the Nile Special sponsorship in 2007.

The few 'sponsors' that have come on board have failed to deliver on their promises. On many occasions, they promise prizes that they never give to the winners.

The inter-club championship held at Eden Service Park-Bwaise in June is an example of such competitions that promised sh800,000 for the winner but not even a medal was given out to the eventual winner.

Despite the hiccups, the sport has found its way upcountry with Jinja and Mbarara staging their own competitions. Over 22 musclemen competed for the Mr. Jinja title with competitors from Mbale and Iganga also taking part.

A new executive was elected with Twaha Ddungu returning as president and James Masaba, Daniel Komunda elected as secretary and organizing secretary respectively.

With the introduction of Power lifting by Roy Mubiru through the Uganda Power Lifting Association, some bodybuilders could be swayed to the new sport which on its inaugural outing had prizes worth sh5m for the winners.

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