New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Museveni Rewards Kiprotich

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has rewarded Stephen Kiprotich with a car, house and sh10m cash for winning gold at the Moscow World Championships.

"You did great to promote Uganda," a visibly impressed Museveni told Kiprotich before handing over keys of a navy blue Mitsubishi Pajero to the smiling athlete.

Other members of Uganda's team at the just concluded world meet in Russia also left the presidential home in Rwakitura smiling after each also receiving sh10m.

"I am very happy. I just can't express my emotions in words," said Kiprotich who had earlier in his speech requested Museveni for a house and a car 'befitting a world champion.'

Museveni, who was hosting the Moscow team at his upcountry home, said "It seems Kiprotich spied on my plans. The other time I built a house for your parents. This time I will build a house for you and will also give you a car," Museveni announced amidst cheers.

The big delegation that escorted Kiprotich included MPs from Sebei region, elders and ministry, UOC and Uganda Athletics Federation officials.

UAF also left the four hour function cheering after Museveni answered their request for $350,000 to host the 2014 Africa Cross-country Championship in Kampala.

Museveni also used the same occasion to announce an increase in the monthly stipend paid to outstanding Ugandan sportsmen.

Gold medallists in competitions at African level and beyond will be paid sh 5m per month. Silver will fetch sh3m while bronze medallists will get sh1m. This stipend introduced by Museveni in 2010 initially had gold medallists getting sh1m.

Museveni, who punctuated his speech with jokes, also assured the athletes and the Sebei community that work on the Teryet high altitude centre in Kapchorwa would soon start.

"What matters most is whether it is on the budget. Now that Education and Sports Minister Jessica Alupo has assured you that that centre is budgeted for, you should stop having unnecessary high blood pressure worrying on whether the project will start."

UAF president Domenic Otuchet had earlier also informed the president that they had so far only got sh46m of the sh350m annual grant that he promised the federation three years ago.

"That is little money. You will get it. I have directed the Principle Private Secretary to immediately work on it," Museveni assured UAF.

Museveni was full of praises for Kiprotich. He said the runner just like John Akii-Bua 41 years ago had been outstanding in promoting Uganda.

"Uganda Tourist Board has been asking for money to publicise Uganda. But Kiprotich and Akii-Bua have also promoted us."

Museveni started off by lecturing the visitors on the benefits of sports. He listed entertainment, fitness, sportsmanship and national publicity as some of the tenets of sports.

"I congratulate all Ugandan sportsmen who have fulfilled any of these basics of sports."

He noted that as for personalities like Kiprotich, each of these basics have not only been touched, but other Ugandans have in the process also been inspired.

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