KAMPALA. Rebecca Ssengonzi won Uganda’s first medal at the ongoing Africa Youth Games in Algeria on Monday evening.
The evergreen US-based swimmer is showing why she always enjoys her trips to North Africa as the good fortune from Egypt three years ago has followed her to Algeria despite the heat.
On Tuesday, she clocked 28.80 to finish second in the preliminaries of the 50m butterfly and then made 29.33 to clinch bronze behind Egypt’s Yasmine Hassen Mahieddine and Morocco’s Houda Imane El Barodi.
“It could have been silver,” Uganda Swimming Federation (USF) president Dr. Donald Rukare, remarked after El Barodi finished just slightly ahead at 29.10.
In 2015, the 17 year old won Uganda’s only continental medals at the Africa Junior Swimming Championships in Cairo when she won silver in the 100m fly and bronze in the 400m individual medley.
“Algeria is hot and that has to a certain extent impacted the performance but since we came early, the acclimatization has been fine and the overall performance of the team is getting better by the day,” coach Muzafaru Muwanguzi, said.
Muwanguzi will hope that Ssengonzi’s form rubs off her brother Jesse and their swim teammates Adnan Kabuye, Darren Ssamula and Ambala Atuhaire , who have posted better times in some events, and the wider Team Uganda before the Games climax on Saturday.
Ssengonzi was in the 50m breaststroke finals on Sunday but finished eighth with 36.47.
Her brother also made the finals in the 200 free but was unfortunately disqualified, like Atuhaire in the preliminaries, while all the four boys combined for the 4*100 freestyle relay but narrowly finished behind third placed Algeria.
Atuhaire also finished third in the 200 butterfly but there will be no medal for the effort as only four swimmers took part in the event.