Parliament to consider increasing funding to sports – Oulanyah

Speaker Jacob Oulanyah has given assurances to Uganda’s sports fraternity of increase in allocation of funds to the sector in the next Financial Year.

Oulanyah was speaking at a dinner he hosted in honour of Uganda’s team to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games at the Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala.

“We welcome you back home in a very special way because you came back with your hands full; we can only expect increase in the budget for sports [because] the Prime Minister is here, the Minister for sports is here, and you also have me,” he said.

The task at hand, he said, is talent identification, which he said should go all the way to the grassroots and ensure the sportspeople covered in obscurity are uplifted to the limelight to realise their potential for the benefit of the country.

Sports State Minister Hon Denis Hamson Obua announced plans by the Ministry to commence community sports engagement, which he said will thaw political temperatures, borrowing from the sportspeople’s ability to bring Ugandans together despite their political and cultural differences.

“In the world of sports, nobody is an Anglican, Catholic or Muslim [but everyone is accommodated]; I wish we the political class could borrow a leaf from the sportsmen,” he said.

Marathon gold medalist Joshua Cheptegei, who spoke on behalf of the team, said the biggest challenge is the livelihood and sustenance of sportspeople beyond the marathons, because they come and go, but they wallow in biting poverty after that.

“The biggest question is the financial life of these people because they don’t earn from marathons; we need something sustainable for them,” he said.

On talent identification and creating a conducive training ground that will simulate much of the places where such events are held, Cheptegei made a case for the Joshua Cheptegei High Altitude Training Centre in Kapchorwa District, calling for donations from well-wishers to support the initiative and groom future marathoners.

The Deputy Clerk Corporate Affairs, Waiswa Henry Yoweri, who represented Clerk to Parliament, Adolf Kasaija Mwesige, said Parliament is proud of the Olympians and takes pride in their success, and that the institution will always be a willing and ready partner in advancing the cause of sports.