New Vision (Kampala)

3 January 2013

Uganda: Former Stars in Deplorable State

THE plight of some of Uganda's former sports heroes is very shocking and needs government intervention or else will send a wrong signal to the current generation.

Some of these have their names mentioned during occasions but actually live in shambles. Their situation does not give inspiration for upcoming athletes to perform to their best for country Uganda.

Michael Owami and Jackson Ogwang from Lira are two examples. Owami is the 1970 javelin gold medallist at the third Commonwealth Paraplegic Games held in Edinburgh Scotland, while Ogwang won Uganda gold medal in the Africa Marathon championship in Mombasa in the early 80s.

Owami, aged 72 years is a retired Lira Cathedral deputy director of Lay apostolate in 2003 currently depends on peasant farming and rental fees.

"As you see me, what can I do for a living apart from selling part of my family harvest to supplement the rental income I get from tenants," Owami wondered.

Former Paralegic Commonwealth gold medallist Owami makes a point at the workshop

Rooted in his wheelchair, Owami explained that the LRA war affected them a lot but he managed to put up small structures from his retirement package and that is what he depends on. He was a church Minister.

Ogwang a former Police officer is at the mercy of Lira Referral Hospital that occasionally provides beddings, food and treatment.

According to former National Council of Sports general secretary John Odyek, Ogwang developed a mental problem after the marathon in Mombasa and is unstable to date.

"We all won gold medals for the country, but Akii Bua was lucky that he was given that house (in Kamwokya). If that could be extended to other winners in the country, we shall be grateful," he added.

Odyek explained that what has put Ogwang in the hospital favour is that he is not violent and even when he goes to the hospital.

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