DUBAI, UAE. Uganda’s running sensation Jacent Nyamahunge won the first gold medal for Team Uganda during Saturday’s 200m race at Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.
The 21-year-old UCU student was the first across the finish line in the women’s 200m run held at Dubai Police Stadium in 24.76 beating her closest challenger Mayak Kimura of Japan by more than four seconds in a lopsided race. South Africa’s Johannah Mogale was third after 28.62.
Nyamahunge, a double gold medallist in the 100 and 200m races from the 2015 Special Olympics, was slower than her 24.0 time she set in Los Angeles but was elated with her performance. She put her victory down to good tactics from her coach Bashir Sekandi and good preparations.
“I always have trouble getting off the blocks but obviously today was really good,” said Nyamahunge. “It was good work from the coach.”
Nyamahunge, an orphan whose mother Anna Mary Kyalisiima, was chased out of her matrimonial home by relatives after the passing on of her dad, credits Special Olympics for changing her life forever.
She will be in action later today in the 100m race at the Police Stadium in Dubai as she chases a double.
Feni scoops silver
But it was an action-packed day for the swimmers. The 16-year-old Larry Feni scooped silver in his M17 division behind Ecuador’s Miguel Parraga. The Ugandan swimmer completed the 50m freestyle event in 31.58 seconds almost two seconds lower than Parraga who took 30.07 seconds. Elizabeth Nicole, who was initially worried of fitter competitors as she was swimming in an Olympic-size swimming pool for the first time, was third in her F09 division scooping bronze.
She has been training in a pool in her aunt’s neighbourhood in Ntinda since choosing to swim the breaststroke and freestyle a few weeks to the Games.
The 16-year-old Special Olympics athlete from Gulu hopes she can do better in the 25m breaststroke.
“When my parents learnt that I was swimming, they were very supportive and I am happy that I am here to represent my country,” she said.
Special Olympics World Games
50m free style finals
1. Catrin Culla (Australia) – 00:00:52.06
2. Ana Vergara (Panama) – 00:00:54.34
3. Elizabeth Nicole (Uganda) – 00:00:55.28
1. Mosammat Khatun (Bangladesh) – 00:00:42.49
2. Maria Paula (Colombia) – 00:00:44.40
3. Stina Nygord (Norway) – 00:00:46.14
5. Gorret Nkitende (Uganda) – 00:00:46.45
Men: Div M17
1. Miguel Parraga (Ecuador) – 00:00:30.07
2. Larry Feni (Uganda) – 00:00:31.58
3. Carlos Miro (Puerto Rico) – 00:00:31.67
Athletics – 200m Div F20
1. Jacent Nyamahunge, 00:00:4:52
2. Sukunya Charuswat (Thailand) – 00:00:28.35
3. Mayaka Kimura (Japan) – 00:00:28.41
Unified volleyball – Saturday
Indonesia 2-0 Uganda
Axerbaijan 1-2 Uganda
Unified 7-aside football
Friday: Uganda 1-2 Finland
Saturday: Bangladesh 0-2 Uganda
Bharat vs Uganda
Today – Swimming 25m breaststroke
Div F03: Elizabeth Nicole, 8:06am
Div F05: G. Nakitende, 8:12am
Div M02: Bian Elimu, 8:18am
Div M04: Larry Feni, 8:24am