Tabithah Archy taking part in CANA zone 3 masters

By Emmanuel Sekago

Uganda took the fifth position in the Africa swimming (CANA) zone three championships that were held in Khartoum, Sudan last year.

Uganda which went to the tournament last year as favorites scored 976 points overall, while host Sudan won the first place after collecting 1,548 points, The republic of South Africa came in second with 1,248 points.

The country was represented by 10 swimmers three of them women: Mercedes Mwebeiha, Kirabo Namutebi and Ahura Ambala

The others were all men namely, Daryl Kyabayinze, Tendo Mukalazi, Daniel Kyabayinze, Ampaire  Namanya, Hayyan Kisitu and Kevin Rugaaju the youngest swimmer in the group.

A part from the medals won, the swimmers managed to improve their time in the event, the championship featured seven countries and the host Sudan won the trophy while South Africa finished in the second place.

Uganda had planned to feature 25 swimmers in the event, but due to unavoidable reasons including mostly lack of sponsors to meet some of the huge costs many of the prospective competitors had to pull out of the competition due to the huge expenses.

The swimmers were required to travel to the venue not less than four days before the event took off. This would have enabled them train in modern swimming pool (50 meters pool) none of which is found in Uganda.

Parents, Guardians and other supporter’s were required to incur the costs of the additional four days and therefore opted to pull out of the event, leaving 10 of the original 25 swimmers to carry the national flag to the biggest swimming competition in the zone three regions.

Modern 50 meters swimming pool.

Uganda which attained its Independence in 1962 is yet to have a modern 50 meter swimming pool recognized by International sports governing bodies. The country has many private swimming pools which a devoid of sophisticated equipments compared to those used in the South Africa level 1 and 2 championships. Johannesburg alone has 69 community swimming pools that are used to train swimmers and lifesavers; Ellis Park is among the deepest pool which was built in 1904.

A part from Kampala International School of Uganda (KISU) 25 meters swimming pool other swimming pools found in Uganda is of 20 meters. In Johannesburg 25 meters swimming pool is used for warming up or for swimmers cooling down purposes, Despite having such swimming pools, Uganda swimmers and officials are facing difficulties to get their actual personal time in the game due to absence of touch pad which record the swimmers time once they finish the race also Uganda has no modern diving blocks which are used during diving competitions or training.

“Look, we have to wake up very early in order to train at the full equipped swimming pool, we need to experience them before the competition in order to familiar with the swimming pools modern facilities,” Darly Kyabayinze, the swimmer explained that it is different to accustom  modern swimming facilities in few hours before the competition.

If Uganda would construct the standard 50-meter swimming pool, tournament costs would be reduced or avoided completely. Had many more swimmers traveled to Sudan for the tussle in Khartoum, the chances of Uganda successfully winning the championship title would arguably have been much higher.

“Can you train one hour before you compete, you will a adopt for a while and not like those who train in 50 meters pool that are not found in Uganda,” said Avis Meya who featured in the World swimming championship held in Hangzhou, China last month ago . She also said Uganda need to have a touch pad which is used to record swimmers finishing time.

Uganda Swimming Federation (USF) President, Donald Rukare said swimmers who swim for country like South Africa have many options in preparing swimming schedule for swimmers due to availability of many community swimming pools. Rukare said the cost of using facilities is less compared to Kampala.

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