Uganda: Athletics Takes Lion's Share for Rabat Team

Kampala — A contingent of 96 athletes and officials is expected to depart for Morocco for the 12th African Games tomorrow.

Daily Monitor has confirmed that Team Uganda comprises teams from 12 disciplines and athletics will take the biggest share of 30 slots. "We submitted names for 27 athletes and three officials to National Council of Sports (NCS)," Uganda Athletics Federation's administrator Timothy Masaba said yesterday. Whereas athletics takes the biggest share, there is no Ugandan that won a medal from track and field at the previous edition in Congo-Brazzaville four years.

Uganda's last medals in athletics at the Games are Moses Kipsiro's 5000m gold and Annet Negesa's 800m gold at the 2011 edition in Maputo, Mozambique. But the selected group is confident they can vindicate their numerical advantage following a season that has had 17 new national records by nine different athletes.

About 51 athletes had met different qualification grades for Morocco and it means that nearly half have missed out. Steeplechaser Benjamin Kiplagat is among those omitted.

"Sometimes life has ups and downs and we have to accept and move on," said the 2012 Africa Senior bronze medallist. "But I think I will go for the World Championships in Doha next month," added Kiplagat.

Displeased Muhangi

Handball strangely has 16 places with two of those for officials while eight boxers will travel with two officials.

Early this week, Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF) president Moses Muhangi expressed his dissatisfaction. UBF had prepared a team of 20. In Brazzaville, Kennedy Katende won light heavyweight bronze.

This paper has learnt that the Rabat-bound team's travel is pending government's facilitation estimated at Shs2.1b.

"We are going to have a press conference tomorrow (today) to detail that entire project so you will know everything from there," NCS Assistant General Secretary David Katende said when contacted yesterday. Nine other disciplines such as badminton, beach volleyball, 3 x 3 basketball, chess, road cycling and table tennis have single-digit slots each.

The Games run from August 13-19 in four cities and para-sports were not included this time.

Uganda won a total four medals at the Brazzaville edition, a reduction by half from the tally scooped eight years ago in Maputo.

The Numbers

Athletics: 30

Handball: 16

Boxing: 10

Badminton: 7

Table Tennis: 5

Weightlifting: 5

Beach Volleyball: 5

3X3 Basketball: 5

Road Cycling: 4

Taekwondo: 3

Swimming: 3

Chess: 3

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