Home Others Tennis The time to tap into Ugandan Sports’ fortunes is now

The time to tap into Ugandan Sports’ fortunes is now

by Nnalubaale Sports
3 minutes read

By: Robert Jjagwe

Many of our fellow citizens still debate whether or not to enroll themselves and/or their children in Sports.

For a long time, sports in poor countries like Uganda have looked like a waste of valuable academic time with some parents even discouraging their children from participating in them.

The 21st Century has however unveiled opportunities in sports that many can no longer ignore.

The first and most obvious observation is that non-communicable diseases such as Diabetes, Obesity, and High Blood Pressure, among others are on the rise the World over.

These diseases can best be avoided by engaging in regular physical activity. One type of Diabetes, type 2, which is the most common, can be well managed with just regular exercise.

Many Ugandans are not even aware that several schools and universities are now offering academic bursaries/scholarships for talented Sports men and ladies.

In Table Tennis, we have talented players who have studied from primary to university (including Masters level) without paying a single shilling and have relied only on their talent in the sport.

Even as I write this, we have over 60 bursaries in Secondary Schools and over 25 at University. Right now, almost no school can decline to give a talented player a scholarship even when their academic performance is not so good.

I am also fully aware that sports like Athletics (Running) are helping our Athletes to earn a lot of foreign income.

Our gifted long-distance runners have won monies to the tune of over 150 million Uganda shillings by triumphing in foreign competitions.

The Boxing world championships now have prize money of up to five million US Dollars for the winner.

Elsewhere, the Table Tennis Grand Smash Championship now has yearly prize money of up to 2 million US Dollars. All these are opportunities for Ugandans to cash in by investing in our athletes.

Another lucrative area is the Broadcasting of Local Sports to Ugandans. We now have local partners in media that have dived deeply into broadcasting local sports to Ugandans.

Sponsors who wish to advertise themselves can therefore now go to them and acquire the rights to showcase their products and services to the entire country by sponsoring local sports competitions such as the National Leagues.

Sports have also given some of our Ugandan children the opportunity to explore new worlds and careers.

The Table Tennis Sport alone has helped over 35 players to acquire passports and many of these have traveled to several countries thereby widening the options for their future life.

There is no doubt that by visiting different countries, one’s mind becomes more enlightened and open to different career opportunities that can even go beyond our sports themselves.

It is also no secret that the easiest way to travel around the world from a poor country is via one’s sporting talent.

Last year Table Tennis allowed 12 and 13-year-old girls to visit England with no hustle whatsoever on the issue of acquiring the UK Visa.

This is the kind of value addition from Sports that all Ugandans need to embrace and harness.

With the Ugandan employment sector saturated and no longer able to absorb many of our youths, it is time for Ugandans to tap into the above fortunes that the Sports Sector has and is indeed readily available.

In all that, it is important not to forget the primary and vital benefits of good health and better productivity at school, at work, and the list goes on and on.

The new Sports Law that was recently passed by Parliament and is only awaiting a sign-off by President Museveni will make cashing in on Sports investments more viable because it provides for proper and reliable protection of Sports investors.

The new Law clearly allows for the commercialisation of the Ugandan Sports Sector and goes as far as legally providing for contracts to be signed between Sponsors/Investors and Athletes, Sports Federations, and other stakeholders.

The Writer is the President of the Uganda Table Tennis Association and Secretary General of the Union of Uganda Sports Federations and Associations.

Courtesy Photos

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