We realized new opportunities and realities of the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected sport and all spheres of life around the world.

Virtually the whole world stopped without activity for weeks, months that turned into two full years.

Uganda was not spared either and the sport remained stagnant during this gray period.

The National Sports Council (NCS) Secretary General, Dr. Bernard Patrick Ogwel, testified that Uganda as a country has realized the major positives of the pandemic.

In a special message ahead of the Commonwealth Games team, Dr Ogwel cited the new opportunities and realities that have arisen.

“I would first like to congratulate all the athletes and federations who have already qualified a number of athletes for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England next month. It has been a long journey also coupled with a period that is remained very remarkable but also created new opportunities and realities stemming from COVID-19,” he noted.

Godwin Kayangwe, Desire Ayera and Bernard Ogwel

Victories and successes to celebrate:

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Ogwel commends the valiant athletes for the endless efforts to celebrate the achievements achieved.

“As a country, we want to celebrate the victories and successes of our brave athletes who have succeeded despite the challenges of COVID-19 which have made life a bit unique and difficult. Being qualified therefore means you deserve to be at the next level and my view on behalf of the council is to give assurances of the highest regard that the government is committed to ensuring that you are supported in your preparation and to be able to be presented at the games. ” He added.

Dr Bernard Patrick Ogwel (L) consults with NCS President Ambrose Tashobya

Preparations for the Commonwealth Games:

He therefore urged the already qualified athletes to stay focused with disciplined training regimes to aim for the precious Commonwealth Games medals.

I call on the respective athletes to continue discipline and training and focus on the games as I know the upcoming games in Birmingham Uganda will mark another story. We already made history at the 2018 CWG in Gold Coast Australia where we won six medals. But the most remarkable thing is that we were able to win several gold medals that we had never won before and so far this is one of our best outings in the history of games. We envision a better one.

Dr Bernard Patrick Ogwel, Secretary General National Sports Council (CNS)

Dr Bernard Patrick Ogwel, Anne Abeja and Minister Obua at the Mandela National Stadium, Namboole (Credit: David Isabirye)

Government support:

To prepare the respective teams, the Uganda Commonwealth Games Association, the Uganda Olympic Committee and the National Sports Council (NCS) are teaming up to mobilize the resources that drive the teams.

We are doing everything right and within government deadlines to ensure that the required gadgets, logistics and competition facilities for our team will be delivered on time. At present almost all federations have been supported to ensure teams are in camps preparing for the games except for one federation which has just submitted liability late but we will be able to work and get the necessary support for them. But again, to reiterate that the Ugandan team, through the National Organizing Committee chaired by the Honorable Minister of State for Sports, which also has a National Council of Sports Representatives, the Uganda Olympic Committee together with the Ministry of Education and Sports, has organized several planning meetings (the latest was held on 8e June 2022), the committee will sit again and accelerate what has been achieved and also to publish what needs to be urgently needed. It’s about aligning our strategies and focus for games. We know that the final list of athletics will be after the 24the June 2022 at the end of the African championship in Mauritius which is already underway. This will now give us the opportunity, out of over 40 athletes who I am told are already in the qualifying category, to get the best to fill the team’s allocated spots. We also believe that immediately after that all of our teams will then be in camp and putting the finishing touches on their preparations. I want to encourage federation leaders to be responsible and close to the athletes who have already qualified and to continue to steer them towards the best practices needed, especially as we now plan for them to go to the UK. The discipline required, the competition rules and the other checklist which is very important. From now on, we are working on visa issues for all participants. We are also looking at the aspect of our budgets that need to be aligned before the end of the fiscal year as we expect the final schedule of government support for the games by July 15, which is the government’s next fiscal year. So, on behalf of the secretariat and the national sports council and on my own behalf, I send my high regards to all the stakeholders who have worked left and right to display a good image, publicity and strategies for the qualification of our crew. Needless to mention, allow me to thank the Honorable Minister of State for Sports (Hon. Hamson Denis Obua) for the leadership and the technocrats in the Ministry of Education and Sports through the Permanent Secretary for any input to this campaign which is approaching its most important period . We especially thank the Minister of Education and Sports, the Honorable Janet Museveni, for ensuring that the required funding was available, and the National Sports Council and the Uganda Olympic Committee for the administrative support provided. I cannot forget to thank the media in many ways for making our campaign real and visible, but also for addressing the concerns that we are celebrating today in terms of the responses from partners and also from the government in terms of the needs that are currently being processed. For God and my country.

Dr. Bernard Patrick Ogwel, Secretary General – National Sports Council

At the upcoming Commonwealth Games, Uganda will showcase various sports ranging from athletics, netball, rugby, table tennis, swimming, badminton to weightlifting.

Dr Ogwel with Commissioner for Secondary Education Sam Kuloba in Paris, France during the 2022 ISF World School Games. (David Isabirye)
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