Uganda Boxing Federation is holding the National Team Trials, that got underway on Saturday, despite growing challenges.
The Trials that will end on October 5th, will see the Federation pick fighters for the upcoming inaugural Champions League and National team ahead of international engagements like Commonwealth games.
UBF President Moses Muhangi says that they have made the National Team Trials possible amidst growing challenges like Covid19 and no Government funding.
Despite recent cries, the Government has not made serious efforts to pledged and revise blanket cuts in funding for the Sports Sector.
Since 2019 which is the last time a boxing competition was organised in the Country, the Sports Budget has been cut from shs25 billion to only shs10 billion! More than half!
Speaking to this website on Saturday, Muhangi stated:
“Its been a while, we have not had boxing competitions not because we could not organise them as a Federation but we were restricted by the Government due to Covid19.
“So it has been up until now that the Government has been able to ease up on Covi19 regulations and also we decided as a Federation that we need to have a National team and plan to have other activities. So we had to have the competition running and as we speak, we have 597 boxers men and women across all weight categories taking part.
“We are adhering to all Covid regulations, every boxer is vaccinated, we have tested them for Covid19 and we hope that by the time the competition ends, we would have achieved our mission; identify Boxers for the Champions League (four boxers from each category), and get boxers that will represent Uganda in the Commonwealth games next year.
“We are working in a manner that is not usual but we are managing.”
All boxers were vaccinated and a state of the art ring was secured prior to the National team trials.
On how deep the Federation has gone into their pockets to make the competitions possible, Muhangi added: “The Government has not funded us yet, we have not got any resources at the moment. We are using our personal money and that we have borrowed as a Federation.”
“Our budget for this competition is around Sh60m: That is money identified from different sources. We hope that when Government money comes, we can be able to pay up, if it doesn’t, we will still be able to find away to pay up the debts. But we have an obligation to run the Federation and organise such competitions. We have to move regardless of the circumstances.”
The UBF is also organising a National Technical Officials Certification (NTO) Course which is ongoing at Kati Kati.
Boxing, just like Athletics, has marketed Uganda on international stages having won medals in the Olympics, Commonwealth and African Games.
Juma Miiro, who won bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth games in Gold Coast, suffered a shocking exit when he was beaten by Edrine Ojambo on Saturday.
Muhangi said that he was not surprised because is one sport that you have to keep practicing and not rest on your laurels just because you won a medal.
He added: “There is no guarantee like saying that because I have a medal, therefore I can relax. You have to stay in training, keep your guards up everytime you are challenged.”
Action continues in Lugogo as Boxers will fight their way to a lucrative slot on the Bombers team.