New Vision (Kampala)

30 December 2012

Uganda: End of Year Review - David Emong Raced to a New National Record

Ugandan athletes with disabilities had the honour of competing at the Paralympic Games in London. They raced alongside elite competitors from other parts of the world but the search for glory was elusive. But David Emong left the world stage with satisfaction after finishing fourth overall in the 1500m.

Though he missed clinching a bronze medal by a few seconds, Emong made up by posting a new personal best time and a national record.

Akulo less fortunate:

Uganda's other athlete Christine Akulo was less fortunate. Competing in the 100m and 1500m, she failed to go close to the medal bracket. Elsewhere, Uganda Disabled Athletics Federation entered 12 athletes in the Great Lakes Championships in Nairobi.

The group put on an impressive show. But only five made it to Mozambique due to lack of funds.

Uganda Paralympics Committee president Haruna Mpindi commended the athletes for the display despite the money hiccup. The official also had positive remarks for the bodies under his committee that kept their athletes busy all year round. The federations include one for track and field athletics where Emong and Akulo fall.

Uganda Disabled Sitting Volleyball Federation was also active

The body fielded participants in the Great Lakes event in Rwanda. The event also served as a qualifier for the Paralympic Games in London. But in the final, Uganda lost to Rwanda who booked a ticket to the London show. The Uganda Disabled Power Lifting Federation was also represented in a competition in Rwanda. The athletes competed with zeal but could not hit the required standard.

In addition, Uganda Disabled Table Tennis Association made a strong presence at an international event in Burundi

Five hit mark:

Five of the athletes qualified for the Africa Championships held in Egypt. But the team failed to make it to Cairo due to lack of funds. The Cairo event, that attracted the five best countries in Africa including Egypt, was a qualifier for the Paralympic Games. Uganda Blind Sports Federation was also active but failed to enter a team in international events because of inadequate funding.

Uganda Paralympics Committee ended the season on a positive note. One official, Dr. Innocent Komakech qualified as an international classifier. His major task is to certify athletes who are supposed to compete in sports for people with disabilities.

Komakech's colleague Samuel Bukoma qualified as an international referee.

The officials hit the grade after attending courses in Egypt. Mpindi said that his committee has drawn a strategic plan that is ready for discussion.

There is hope that the plan, if approved, would improve the performance of various athletes.

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