Unanswered Questions Behind Ssekitoleko’s Troubles

On June 19, the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics were upon us following months of waiting as State Minister of Sports Hon. Hamson Obua flagged off Uganda’s first batch to the coveted games.

Weightlifter Julius Ssekitoleko, swimmer Atuhaire Ambala and the three boxers Shadir Musa, Catherine Nanziri and David Ssemujju departed to Izumisano city in Japan for a pre-training camp.

However, Uganda’s 2020 Olympic campaign has since made more news off the pitch.

The disappearance of Ssekitoleko who then re-surfaced four days later and deported back to Uganda, is a story that has indicators that there is something fishy.

The weightlifter has spent more that 48hrs in Police cells, and The-SportsNation countinues to dig deeper in to the matter that’s unfolding into a saga.

First of all, it’s reported that Ssekitoleko was not meant to travel to Japan because he hadn’t qualified for the games.

The delegation led by David Katende who is the assistant General Secretary at NCS named Hakim Musoke Ssempereza as Ssekitoleko’s trainer.

Who is Ssempereza?

Hakim Musoke Ssempereza is a son to the Uganda weighlifting federation president Salim Musoke Ssenkungu.

He is an active athlete having previously represented Uganda at the 2018 CommonWealth games in Goldcoast, Australia.

He has also been at the 2019 All Africa games in Rabat Morocco and most recent at the 2021 African Weightlifting championships held at Ruaraka Sports Club in Kenya.

The-SportsNation has learnt that it is not UOC that selects the coaches but rather the Federation in this case headed by Salim Musoke Ssenkungu.

Was there conflict of interest? Thats a case this website is doing thorough probing.

Who is Ssekitoleko’s known coach?

Ivan Masakwe, a household name in the sport of weightlifting, has for the last seven years doubled as an athlete and Ssekitoleko’s coach at Kisugu, a kampala surburb.

It was sheer surprise that Masakwe was left home.

“I got this young school going Ssekitoleko doing boxing then in 2013 and introduced him to the sport of weightlifting,” Masakwe told The-SportsNation.

“For all these years, he has been under my supervision as a coach but I have never been granted a chance to go with him as a coach to any international event. So it wasn’t a suprise not to see my name on the travelling list.”

“As a coach, I am still doing my best to produce a world champion or two and I know in the young lads I do train up to date, one day I will produce a world champion.”

On Ssekitoleko’s current situation, Masakwe adds:

“Putting my boy who has often lifted Uganda’s flag high behind bars beats my understanding.

“Though not proper, Sportsmen that vanished in the 90’s like John ‘The Beast’ Mugabi, Kasim Ouma, Sharif Bogere and the likes are World Champions now. Is Governments also looking for them to put them in prison?”

As an athlete, Masakwe decided to return to action after a long sabatical in 2019 at the Africa Weightlifting Championships in Cairo Egypt and later at the Africa Weightlifting Championship again in Kenya 2021 where he competed in the 81kg category.

While seeking clarity on the traveling Weightlifting contingent, UOC chef de mission Beatrice Ayikoru refered us to the Uganda Weightlifting federation.

“These questions should be directed to the Weightlifting federation. The UOC does not select coaches and athletes,” Ayikoru stated.

Efforts to speak to Salim Musoke Ssenkungu (ITO member), Uganda weighlifting president as well as father of Hakim Musoke Ssempereza were futile.

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