National Council of Sports (NCS) General Secretary Dr Patrick Bernard Ogwel has called upon government to prioritize the sports sector if the country is to achieve sustained success at the grandest of stages.
Ogwel was giving his own review about how Uganda is faring at the ongoing postponed Olympic games in Japan.
“I want to express my highest level of excitement in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics”, the NCS guru remarked.
Uganda’s medal tally at the quadrennial games counts at three all coming from the track. The pair of Joshua Chepetegei and Jacob Kiplimo bagged silver and bronze respectively in the 10,000m while Peruth Chemutai took it a notch higher by winning gold in the 3000m Steeplechase, the first ever by a Ugandan female athlete at the Olympics.
And Ogwel says that Chemutai’s success hasn’t been an overnight feat but one that has taken lots of efforts from the Custodians of the Sport.
“Little has been written about Chemutai by our local dailies and thus her success has caught many by surprise. But to some of us that have walked the journey, in terms of investment in athletics through the Federation, we can tell boldly that it’s been sustained effort to get here,” Ogwel added.
Born in a talent hub of Bukwo, heroin Chemutai’s remarkable was in the offing according to Ogwel.
“The likes of Cbemutai have been in camp either in Bukwo or Kapchorwa, with this enabled in large parts through government support channelled through NCS. But without the Uganda Athletics Federation structures this would be in vain.
“I know many that watched her jump over barriers and into water to Olympics gold are now inspired to join the sport.”
On further funding from government, he stated:
“So it is a testimony that further funding of sports can improve the economy through taxing returns by our athletes, like is the case in many countries.
“The sub-sector has suffered from successive budget cuts and now our meagre resources to support all federations inclusive of wage and non-wage expenditure is 10b. I think we must get back to the drawing board and prioritize sports as a sector.”
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