By Thomas Odongo
KAMPALA. Maj Gen Muhooozi Kaneirugaba, the Senior Presidential Advisor for Special Operations will donate boxing equipment and gear towards the Uganda Boxing Federation as a gesture of support towards the jabs game.
The equipment will comprise 2 pairs of boxing gloves making a total of 80 pairs (UGX 17,200,000), 1 punching bag each team making a total of 40 punching bags (UGX 10,400,000) and 2 punching pads per team making a total of 80 pairs (UGX 6,800,000). The total monetary contribution for all this equipment is UGX 34,400,000/- (thirty-four million, four hundred thousand).
Gen Kainerugaba confirmed this during the finals of the Uganda National Open Boxing Championship held on Sunday evening at the MTN Arena Lugogo.
However, Gen Kaineruga challenged the youth to embrace sports for physical fitness, better health and also as a source of livelihood. He also called for more support from both the public and private sectors towards sports development.
"Our sportsmen and women deserve more support and the sports administrators owe it to them and Uganda to ensure that they provide this support efficiently and effectively. Obviously, the government should be in the lead on this front, but as you can see, the private sector can have a powerful impact on the development of sports," Gen Kainerugaba noted.
He explained that this is how international sports icons and countries, have cashed in from the lucrative sports industry.
"The examples are many, the NBA in the USA, the premier soccer leagues in Europe, tennis grand slams, Formula One, and so on. Our people should also be able, and certainly have the potential, to replicate that here too," he noted.
He added that Boxing has traditionally been the country’s most successful sports discipline since independence, highlighting that, out of 47 medals Uganda has won at the Olympic and Common Wealth Games since 1960, boxing has contributed a total of 35, while the other sports disciplines, especially athletics, have been responsible for the other 12.
"It is not difficult to see why, from the evidence here this evening. The boxing structures are organised right from the grassroots from an early age; from schools all the way up to the National Open, like this one today. The winners at the National Open, the champions, become members of the national boxing team, the Bombers," Gen Kainerugaba said.
He congratulated the sports personalities and thanked the Ministry of Education and Sports, and the National Council of Sports, for supporting sports development among the young people.
"As you are aware, if these immensely talented sportsmen and women are adequately supported, there is no doubt they will deliver, not only on the local scene, but even on the regional, and international stage," Gen Kainerugaba noted.
Gen Kainerugaba has demonstrated the passion for various sports disciplines including football, motorsport among others. Last year, the General donated cash to Andy Mwesiga Football Academy plus maintaining support towards the Muhoozi Victory Cup, a tournament which he has been supporting since 2013.
On Sunday, the MTN Arena was filled to the brim by a youthful audience and some fans had to watch the games on the screen just outside the indoor stadium.
UBF President Moses Muhangi expressed delight towards Gen. Muhoozi’s gestures noting that ‘first we are happy that you are here today with us but more so for the equipment.’’
Singer Bebe Cool (Moses Ssali) also attended the event and had donned an all-black attires with ‘Silent Majority’ gestures. Bebe Cool even participated in the awarding of medals to some of the junior boxers.
Various delegates from National Council of Sports, Uganda Olympic Committee, United Nations (UNAIDS) and officials from various consulates graced the event that ended late Sunday night.
HIV testing and counselling was also done with UNAIDS Country Director Dr Karusa demonstrating it to the audience.
Winners of the National Open Boxing Championship
Elite Heavy-Weight - Baba Yusuf
Elite Bantam Weight - Frank Muhairwe
Elite Fly Weight - JB Katongole
Elite Welter Weight - Musa Shadir
Women Youth Light Fly Weight – Grace Nakinga
Youth Light Heavy Weight – James Muyingo
Youth Middle Weight – Semudu Muzamil
Youth Welter Weight – Mazida Mohamad
Youth Light Weight – Jaffa Onen
Youth Bantama Weight – Derrick Mubiru