The issue: Sports needs more funding.
Our view: Kampala Capital City Authority and the Central Government have done precious little to develop facilities for the promotion of sport, and in some cases have acted negatively.
2018 Commonwealth Games double gold medallist Joshua Cheptegei has embarked on building his own high altitude athletics training centre in Kapchorwa. The athlete is among those who have since 2012 or earlier been waiting for such a training centre that the government promised to build in the same area. The Kiprotich High Altitude Training Centre is being built at snail pace.
Because the athletes in the Sebei sub-region, who have gained international acclaim in long distance races, lack up to date training facilities, they have often had to cross to Kenya to keep themselves fit and prepare for international competitions.
Quite often in the recent past they have won, bringing Uganda untold pride. But the government has still not moved fast enough to complete the training facility that is expected to help nurture even more athletics talent from the area, hence Kiptegei’s decision to embark on his own.
The situation in Sebei is not the direst, however. The state of sports facilities, from stadia to anything one can imagine, is in a sorry state all over the country.
If you take Kampala as an example, there are very few spaces for recreation and sports activities, with much of the land that was meant for such purposes having been snapped up by individuals who have proceeded to put it to other uses.
Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and the Central Government have done precious little to develop facilities for the promotion of sport, and in some cases have acted negatively. For instance, at the Queens Way, near Kibuye in Kampala, there used to be a field which the youth used for purposes of sports, especially football. KCCA has since dug ridges and planted flowers in the area, warding off the people who in the past used it.
The inaction of the government regarding sports development is surprising. Everywhere you look, anywhere in the world, sports personalities earn humongous sums of money, and sport is helping to transform societies. Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Mohamed Salah, Mike Tyson, Kobe Bryant are names that need no further explanation. These people enjoy name recognition anywhere in the world because of sport. They made a lot of money during their careers.
Apart from the athletics champions from Sebei, there are other Ugandans like Denis Onyango who have done very well on the international scene in recent years.
This, we believe, is a good pointer that we must prioritise in sport to nurture the talent with which we are endowed. A lot of money and opportunities will flow to Ugandans.