Judo team: We deserve recognition for winning medals

By Abdul-Nasser semugabi

\KAMPALA. Two national judo players won gold, two silver and two bronze at the 12th East African Judo Championship last month.

Returning from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, they also got involved in a fatal bus accident that killed two passengers. But no one seems to care.

Benjamin Ludigo is nursing a grave muscle tear on his right arm. The ugly wound will take long to heal and cover his bones again. He will take longer to resume training like his teammates, who sustained simpler injuries. Still no one seems to care.

Bana Landry [-60kg] and Karim Kubo [-100kg] won gold; Sabiti Kudura [-66kg] and Jean Makangamo [-81kg] got silver while George Ssekiwunga [-90KG] and Happy Fiona [-57kg] managed bronze.

For this performance, after many years of absence, Coach Yoshiyuki Mizouchi’s team expected “some national recognition.” But when they took their medals to the National Council of Sports last Friday, they left disappointed that after hours of waiting no one paid attention.

Team captain Ssekiwunga said: “We just need some recognition by NCS that judo is a sport, and that they should include us on their list of beneficiaries.”
He added that the Dar trip was fully funded by “Japanese public’’ yet our country doesn’t care. Ssekiwunga reserved special commendations for the refugees for accepting to represent Uganda, despite the conditions. “Their dedication and expertise has really helped improve the team.”

Five players resumed training at the Wandegeya dojo, returned yesterday and more are expected to turn up for tomorrow’s session at Kisugu. They will be joining clubs like Police and UPDF, eyeing the Inter-forces Games and Africa Military Games.
However without enough support, these young men and women might struggle to enter the All-Africa Games and their ultimate dream—the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.


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