New Vision (Kampala)

18 January 2013

Uganda: USPA Awards 2012 - the Winners So Far

MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

Stephen Kiprotich; Age: 23

Achievement: Olympic champion

Stephen Kiprotich climaxed Uganda's sports season by winning gold in the very final event of the London 2012 Olympics. The marathoner, kept his earlier vow of ending Uganda's medal drought at the Games. The runner crossed the finish line in 2:08:01 to win Uganda's first ever gold medal in the marathon, and the first ever since John Akii Bua (400mH) in 1972.

The achievement has also seen him top the ranks for the Sports Personality of the Year. "I deserve it. I worked hard for it. I am refocusing and will sit down with my manager and suggest which races I will have to compete in next season," said Kiprotich from his base in Eldoret, Kenya.

MALE GOLFER PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Phillip Kasozi

Occupation: Banker

Phillip Kasozi shrugged off stiff competition from Willy Kittata to win the prestigious Uganda Golf Open at Kitante.

He claimed the MTN Mug of Mugs at Uganda Golf Club having accumulated the highest number of points in the 12 monthly competitions.

He won numerous club tournaments at UGC and as team captain he guided Uganda to second position in the East African Challenge in Burundi.

FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

Sarah Nambawa

Age: 27

In a season where most females failed in their campaign to make the grade, Nambawa stood up tall to retain her continental triple jump title in Benin's capital, Porto Novo.

She became the only Ugandan female athlete to retain a continental championships title. The jumper who trained with the Ghanaian national team before the championships was excited about the award.

"Thanks to my supporters and all who made me achieve this. It is exciting and will even push me to work even harder for better results, mostly at the World Championships."

MALE DARTS PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Ronald Kalete

Age: 32, Mechanical engineer

As a dependable No. 1 player in the starting order, Ronald Kalete shouldered much of the weight as Uganda Prisons Darts Club won the national league title for the second year running. No wonder he carries the pseudo name of 'Sniper' for Uganda Prisons.

His arrival from Lugazi in 2010 paid off early with Prisons bagging their first title in 2011. It is the third time Kalete wins the award after his other exploits in 2004 and 2006.

"I'm very proud of it because it has not been easy. The competition was very tough," says Kalete.

NETBALLER OF THE YEAR

Peace Proscovia

Age: 23, Student at UCU

The UCU goal shooter wins the USPA accolade for the third year running, the first two with NIC Netball Club. Proscovia received the news of winning the award with pleasure and she says that it will drive her to work harder.

She won the accolade for her excellent performance during the inaugural University Netball World Cup championship in South Africa, on top of the outstanding display in the national University Games and the league where her UCU side finished second. She beat NIC's Rachael Nanyonga to win the prestigious Nile Special USPA award.

MALE POOL PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Alfred Gumikiriza

Age: 26, Businessman

Alfred 'Black Sheep' Gumikiriza proved his worth by winning the Nile Special Open grand championship in August. He lived up to the billing as a very slippery opponent to face, justifying his nick-name Black Sheep - beating all the best players from all corners of Uganda to clinch the title.

"I'm proud of this award. I feel great because I worked hard for it," says Gumikiriza. "Being a champion is not easy. You face a lot of challenges but I promised my supporters that I will keep the title," added Gumikiriza who eyes a shot at the world championships.

MALE WOODBALL PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Collins Ssemmanda

Age: 26

Ssemmanda won silver in the Taiwan Woodball International Open in Taipeiin October.

The national seed one and administrator in Uganda Woodball Federation as secretary. He also sits on the Africa Woodball board.

He took on the game in 2007 and won the inter universities crown. He says woodball is all about confidence, accuracy and being regulative. His biggest weapon is the long drives.

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