KAMPALA– “Although we have not returned with gold, our performance was good,” said Brian Kasirye, Team Uganda’s captain at the just concluded ANOCA Africa Youth Games when the team touched down at Entebbe Airport on Monday.
Kasirye and colleague were returning from Algiers, Algeria with a haul of five medals from the games’ third edition.
Although the medal tally is higher than that from the 2014 Botswana Games where Uganda won one gold and two bronze, the later still ranks high because of the gold accolade.
Uganda’s attempt to win gold in Algeria was blown away on three fronts and the final one was Kasirye’s loss to Jean Benard of Mauritius in the badminton singles final.
However, for some athletes the competition was not all about winning medals but securing qualification to the Youth Olympics in Bueno Aires, Argentina this October.
Those who qualified apart from the five medalists include: Adnan Lutaya – a weight lifter, Jesse Ssengozi who together with her sister Rebecca broke the jinx to become the first Ugandans to qualify for an international swimming event plus Grace Ndagire, from rowing.
For Nile Special Uganda Sports Press Association Badminton Player of the Year Kasirye, he will keep his fingers crossed to an a ticket to Buenos Aires. Despite winning silver, he awaits a wildcard invitation.
The African Youth Games helped the Ugandan athletes gauge their potential.
It also helped instill the Olympian spirit in African youth and promote African sports.
However, the nation will hope that the athletes better their record in Algeria in the next games which will be held by Lesotho in 2022.
Uganda’S medal haul IN Algiers
Silver: Oscar Chelimo (3,000m)
Silver: Sara Chelengati (3,000m)
Silver: Brian Kasirye (Badminton)
Bronze: Rebecca Ssengonzi (50m Butterfly)
Bronze: Esther Chekwemoi (2,000m s/c w)