President Yoweri Museveni has stressed that it is vital for sportsmen and women to maintain discipline and cooperation while competing.
The President made the call at State House, Entebbe when he flagged off Team Uganda for the 21st Commonwealth Games slated to start on 4th April 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia. The delegation comprises 69 sports competitors and 32 officials. The flagging off ceremony saw the President hand over the national flag to Winnie Nanyondo, the Captain of the contingent.
The contingent comprises boxers, badminton players, cyclists, swimmers, squash, rugby and netball players. Other disciplines are shooting, table tennis and weight lifting. A total of 70 Commonwealth countries with 6,000 sports men and women are participating.
“A sportsman must be fit, disciplined, be strategic, must be cooperative and have endurance. You must have a character of endurance. When 27 people went to the bush and defeated a big Army, it was due to endurance. These qualities are not only applicable to sports but in all spheres of life,” he said as he flagged the continent.
As he called on the officials to ensure that the competitors get sufficient nutrition to enable them achieve the set goals, Mr. Museveni further noted the need for building the character of endurance. He revealed that he has been following up sports for about 50 years adding that cooperation is a vital component towards their success.
He called on them to fully utilize their sports talent for the benefit of the global community adding that sportsmanship outcompetes other talents in fame. The President asked the Uganda contingent to strive and use their talents well on top of guarding them jealously.
The President congratulated them for meeting the minimum requirements for the global competition in various disciplines as he wished them good luck in their competitions. He said that the High Altitude Institute in the Sebei Sub-Region in Eastern Uganda was instrumental in making good sports people.
He received a trophy, which the Uganda netball team won last week in Barbados during a friendly match.
The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Museveni, thanked God for enabling the delegation travel abroad to represent Uganda in the global games. She also thanked the President for making it a culture to flag off Ugandan teams whenever they travel to represent country.
The Minister urged them to dedicate themselves to God and assured them of victory saying, “You should win for God, Uganda and your families.”
State Minister for Sports, Mr. Charles Bakabulindi, who is also Chairman of the Organizing Committee, revealed that their target was to win trophies. He said that their ambition was to also prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Games.
The President of the Commonwealth Games Association of Uganda, Mr. William Blick, saluted President Museveni for supporting them with a supplementary budget of Shs. 3.2 billion.