By Fredrick Kalyango.
Uganda Boxing Federation (UBF) is one of the sports federations that fall under what National Council of Sports calls “priority” sports and per the arrangement, they have to receive over half a billion shillings per financial year from the government funding but since sports was put at a standstill, things are never the same and according to Moses Muhangi the federation boss, they received tokens for office maintenance yet it was the time they needed the support more.
“Sports was highly frustrated by the pandemic and as we are one of the priority sports in the country, we hoped for a deliberate government program to save the industry but we rather lost even the little that we were receiving before. We expected to have our quarterly portions but it was not the case with the government saying that we had no activity but I think that money would help us to acquire gym equipment, offer relief to boxers and staff, and also to clear our debts,” Said Muhangi.
Although Muhangi concedes that the country is overwhelmed by a number of responsibilities, he says that sports needed special attention due to its capacity to employing millions of Ugandans.
Despite the challenges, the federation has tried to keep the sport relevant through a number of activities which included among others the inaugural shadow boxing challenge that attracted a number of participants across the country and diaspora in general.
Muhangi who looked enthusiastic, says that they have already submitted their standard operating procedures to the National Council of Sports as it was the requirement and they have hopes that they shall resume soon since they have to prepare for international engagements like Olympics.
“Although we have been engaging boxers online to have individual training programs, it is not enough and I think the government should accept living with COVID 19 like other diseases and allow some activities to resume because our sport is purely a contact sport.
We can not socially distance during sparring and boxing it’s self so if we expect an Olympic medal from Shadir Musa who already qualified, we need to give him a reasonable training program”, Muhangi explained
By the time Uganda went into lockdown, only one boxer had qualified for the forthcoming Olympics with hopes of having more onboard through the next qualifying events but it looks as if there are limited chances of having big representation in the tournament.