COVID-19 blows UOC’s Tokyo Olympic preps

Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) president William Blick has assured that the Tokyo Olympic Games will take place in July but the body has its projections affected because of the coronavirus pandemic.

UOC’s biggest blow has come with the postponement of some global Olympic qualifiers like in boxing and athletics. 

“Limited competitions worldwide,” Blick said about the effects of COVID-19 on UOC. “So mental preparation of the athletes is a new area of focus.”

Uganda has so far had 20 athletes qualified for the Tokyo Games due July 23 - August 8 in the Japanese capital. Of these, 18 are runners with seven male marathoners included, Bomber Shadir Musa and rower US-based Kathleen Noble.

But UOC’s plan to have 30 athletes reach Tokyo could hit a snag in the case pending qualifiers are cancelled.

“For other sports other than boxing, we are looking for any opportunity that presents itself to us such as weightlifting has the final event in Madagascar in six weeks,” remarked Beatrice Ayikoru, UOC’s vice-chairperson in charge of technical issues.

“Athletics is looking at any window of completion both here and abroad. Rugby has the final event in June in Monaco,” she said.

Uganda’s hopes for Tokyo are, however, still harboured in seven disciplines: athletics, boxing, swimming, rugby, weightlifting, skating, and rowing. 

“Apart from athletics, swimming, and skating, the rest have one chance to qualify,” noted Ayikoru.

“We have one sport that can get wildcards and that’s swimming. Athletes from the rest of the sports must qualify either by ranking or time,” she added.

Uganda has won seven medals in Olympics history with three in athletics and four in boxing.

Women: Halima Nakaayi (800m), Winnie Nanyondo (800m & 1500m), Peruth Chemutai (3000m steeplechase), Stella Chesang & Sarah Chelangat (5000m), Juliet Chekwel (Marathon)

Men: Ronald Musagala (1500m), Albert Chemutai (3000m Steeplechase), Stephen Kissa (5000m), Joshua Cheptegei & Abdallah Mande (10000m), *Fred Musobo, *Stephen Kiprotich, *Solomon Mutai, *Filex Chemonges, *Geoffrey Kusuro, *Jackson Kiprop & *Robert Chemonges (all Marathon)
*Only 3 can be allowed to compete

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

Published: 02/09/2021