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UGANDA SPORTS CONTINUES TO THRIVE DESPITE THREATS OF COVID-19
It’s coming to Seven months since the suspension of sports activities in Uganda due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide.
However despite the limitations, Uganda's sports has continued to thrive; and the government of Uganda has deliberately facilitated key international sports engagements to continue to allow Sportpersons to excel and bring glory to the country.
Yesterday in Rome, 19 year old Jacob Kiplimo in a World Leading time of 7:26.64 won the 3000m event of the Golden Gala-Pietro Mennea, Diamond League Meet. The timing was also a Diamond League Record, a new National Record that was set seven years ago and a Personal Best for the rising star. 9 days prior, Jacob had also won the 59th Golden Spike meet in Ostrava, Czech Republic in a meet record of 12:48.63 in the men’s 5000m event.
Prior to this, Joshua Cheptegei set a third World Record of 12:35.36 in the 5000m event, breaking the historic 16 years record from Kenenisa Bekele. The feat was at the Monaco Diamond League where Uganda’s women’ duo of Halima Nakaayi finished in 5th position and set a new 1000m National Record at 2:32.12 and Winnie Nanyondo in 8th position set a Seasons Best at 2:35.54.
To seal off Joshua’s win, World Athletics voted the Ugandan star winner of the August 2020 Moment of the month. Joshua also holds the 15KM at 41:05 and 10KM at 12:51 World Records.
And there is no stopping for Uganda's stars as Joshua Cheptegei will lead a nine man team to the 2020 World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Poland on the 17th October 2020. Joshua will represent the Team Uganda alongside Jacob Kiplimo, Stephen Kissa, Abel Chebet and Moses Kibet and the women’s team will have Juliet Chekwel, Doreen Chesang, Doreen Chemutai and Racheal Zena Chebet.
Athletics aside, powerlifter Roy Mubiru won the 2020 WPA World Championships in Connecticut, USA outcompeting over 110 competitors in the heavy weight 125kg bodyweight tested, deadlift squat and bench press.
While other federations have equally innovated ways to continue sports activities; boxing organized the first of its kind, the 2020 Shadow Boxing Challenge with bomber Shadir Musa taking the overall honors, and also chess organized Online Chess to engage with athletes during lockdown among others.
And now, there is anticipation for the resumption of sports and the sector is prepared- National Council of Sports has with consultation with key stakeholders developed Sports Standard Operating Procedures that will guide the safe resumption of sports activities in Uganda.
In the mean time, National Council of Sports has intentionally held several online engagements with National Sports Associations during the COVID-19 lockdown period to deliberate on policy matters and forge a way forward to transcend sports. The engagements include:
1. 1st Online Interactive Meetings on 2nd May 2020
2. NCS/UOC Online Engagement on wellness and Health in Sports: During and post COVIC-19 on 23rd May 2020
3. NCS/UOC Online Engagement to discuss the Sports Standard Operating Procedures on 15th June 2020
4. 3rd National Sports Forum for National Sports Federations/associations on 30th June 2020
5. Online Engagement to discuss the Draft NCS Funding Policy and the Reward and Recognition Scheme for Talented Sportspersons on 06th July 2020