Cheptegei, Nakaayi, Okwi jostle for top Uspa Award

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The ripple effect of the coronavirus pandemic continues to distort public gatherings, celebrations as well as plans for the year and subsequent times to come.
And the annual Uganda Sports Press Association (Uspa) Gala which recognizes the best sportsmen in the country was hanging in balance for this year.
But the edition will happen after assurances from the Uspa executive and main sponsor Nile Breweries under brand Nile Special.
Uspa is set to hold the ceremony in a virtual manner as the organisation celebrates its 50th anniversary at Serena Hotel on November 18.
 “It is with mixed emotions that we confirm that the annual Uspa Gala will go ahead this year,” said Uspa president Patriq Kanyomozi.
“On one hand, it is fantastic news that together with our partner Nile Special, we were able to forge a way forward and ensure that the continuity of the gala is not broken in spite of the pandemic.”
“But on the other hand, there’s a tinge of sadness that not everybody that we would have loved to be present will be invited. We are holding the event but with extra caution and guidance to ensure that we adhere to the Ministry of Health guidelines,” Kanyomozi added.
Here, global icon Joshua Cheptegei, world 800m champion Halimah Nakaayi and Uganda Cranes’ striker Emmanuel Okwi will jostle for the main 2019 Sports Personality of the Year gong.
Last year, long-distance runner Cheptegei won the World Cross-country title in Aarhus, Denmark before he later became the first Ugandan athlete to win the Diamond League (DL) trophy over the 5000m in Zurich, Switzerland.
Cheptegei wrapped up 2019 by winning the 10000m world title at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar before setting the 10km world record at the Valencia Trinidad Alfonso in Spain.
Yet, middle-distance runner Nakaayi put on a respectable performance by scooping a bronze medal at the African Games in Morocco before winning the 800m world title with a memorable sprint in the final 80m in Doha.
Okwi scored two goals that pushed the Uganda Cranes to the last 16 stage of the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt. He had also won the Tanzanian Premier League title with Simba SC, contributing 18 goals and eight assists in the process.
Amidst all, Nile Special is keen on staging another colourful ceremony in celebration of the country’s sporting achievements of 2019.
“This year has posed many challenges to everyone and every sector globally. Yet this should not stop us from celebrating the sports men and women that hoisted that national flag high in 2019. Their feats are still vivid in our hearts. You deserve your crowns,” said Nile Special brand manager Francis Nyende.


Male: Joshua Cheptegei
Female: Halima Nakaayi

Male: Emmanuel Okwi
Female: Juliet Nalukenge

Male: Pius Ogena
Female: Samiya Ayikoru

Male: Daudi Okello
Female: Grace Akiror

Stella Oyella

Gift Ssebuguzi

Motorally crew
Yasin Nasser and Ali Katumba

David Ssemujju

Male: Shazad Kamal
Female: Janet Mbabazi
Troy Zziwa

Male: Tendo Mukalazi
Female: Kirabo Namutebi

Ian Rukunya

Male: Harold Wanyama
Female: Maria Nakanyike

Male: Joseph Cwinya-ai
Female: Martha Babirye

Male: James Okello
Female: Hope Akello

Tom Kasozi

Body Builder
Isaac Mubikirwa

Patricia Apolot

Male: Patrick Ochieng
Female: Sarah Makanga

Male: Brian Gwaaka
Female: Denise Nanjeru

Zubair Kubo

Male: Ibrahim Kongo
Female: Lillian Achola

Male: Daniel Muhigo
Female: Aisha Nakiyemba
SPORTS PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR NOMINEES: Joshua Cheptegei, Halima Nakaayi, Emanuel Okwi
TEAM OF THE YEAR NOMINEES: National U-17 Girls’ football team, Men’s Athletics Cross Country team, Proline FC
BEST ORGANISED EVENT NOMINEES: Uganda Golf Open, National Open Boxing Championship, Fufa Drum
LEGENDARY AWARD: Decided by executive, to be announced
BEST RUN FEDERATION: Decided by executive, to be announced

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This writer is a global broadcaster and as well scribe with Daily Monitor Newspaper and sports presenter with Radio One FM 90 in Kampala. Follow him on Twitter: @AllanDarren and his Facebook Page: Darren Allan Kyeyune

Published: 11/17/2020