KAMPALA. Isabella ‘Izzy’ Blick led fellow youngsters in thanking Uganda Sports Press Association (Uspa) and NSSF for recognizing and awarding them as athletes of the year (2017) in their respective disciplines.
The motocrosser, who was on the podium for her feat as national champion in the MX50 CC and runner-up in the East Africa Championship, spoke in French – and later in English – thanking her parents, team and fans too.
Izzy was joined on the podium by badminton’s Husnah Kobugabe, hockey’s Doreen Mbabazi and chess’s Maria Nakanyike, who called on the corporate world to support her trip to South Africa in December.
“I dream of being Uganda’s first Grand Master,” Nakanyike, who was flanked by her joyful father and trainer Augustine Buwule, said at a function whose only blemishes were a late start and the absence of athletics’ Josephine Lalam and male winners Brian Kasirye (badminton) and Tendo Mukalazi (swimming).
The absentees’ awards were picked by Christine Laker – the games mistress at Gombe SS – coach William Kabindi and Uganda Swimming Federation (USF) general secretary Moses Mwase respectively.
“Uganda should be investing more in the young athletes because those are the future our country,” Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) president William Blick, who was Uspa male rugger of the year in 1993, said.
“I also want to thank Izzy’s team and fellow parents who invest in these stars. I also request that in the future, these oldest and biggest awards in the country do not only become a celebration for mum and dad but for the whole team that makes the athlete tick,” Blick, who also attended in his capacity as Izzy’s father and was flanked by his wife Belinda, brother Arthur and their team mechanics, added.
NSSF’s head of marketing and communication said; “Uspa have given these children reason to keep excelling. In years, we will realize the seed we have sowed in these years.”
In the same spirit, NCS publicist Ismail Dhakaba Kigongo said; “being awarded at a young age is probably the best thing that can ever happen. These celebrations go beyond the individual and stretch to their household, families and classrooms.”
Athletics: Josephine Lalam
Motocross: Isabella Blick
Badminton: Husnah Kobugabe
Hockey: Doreen Mbabazi
Chess: Maria Nakanyike
Swimming: Tendo Mukalazi
Badminton: Brian Kasirye