President Yoweri Museveni has urged athletes to focus on discipline in their active sports careers.
Museveni made the appeal on Wednesday while hosting a group of athletes at a luncheon at State House Entebbe.
The athletes include those who participated in the World Athletics Championships in Budapest-Hungary and National School Teams that participated in the Federation of East Africa Secondary Schools Sports Association (FEASSSA).
The President cautioned the athletes to avoid alcohol and prostitution because they will ruin their sports careers. “Alcohol, prostitution, fighting, and all that, don’t go well with sports and they can ruin your life. Sports must go with discipline and the fear of the Lord, then your future will be bright,” He said.
Museveni congratulated the teams and said that the government will support the sports sector and individual performers.
“I always tell you the value of sports, they are good for fitness, character building, it trains people about the good thing of cooperation since sports needs teamwork, entertainment for the spectators and finally it has become a source of living for the sports people. Therefore, sports should be properly understood and explained to our people,” he said.
“Because of that, even when we had little capacity, that is when I undertook that effort of saying that anybody who wins a gold medal, State House will give him a monthly stipend of Shs5m, silver medal Shs3m, then the one of bronze I think its Shs1m.”
The President also promised that the beneficiaries that have since missed out on the offer ever since it was put in place, will receive their full payments. He further reiterated his call to attach personalities who are doing well in sports to the prisons, police, army, and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), saying that this would help them to have an address and a small salary, before promising that the government was going to allocate a bus to each sports zone in the country.
The Minister of Education and Sports Janet Museveni lauded the sportsmen and women for bringing great pride to Uganda.
“The World Athletics Championship hosted 195 countries and Uganda was ranked 11th out of the 39 countries that won medals. It is worth noting that Uganda ranked higher than renowned countries such as Australia, Greece, Japan, France, and China, and for that, all Honor and glory goes to our God. Furthermore, Uganda was placed 3rd, in Africa after Kenya and Ethiopia. We thank God for this achievement,” the First Lady said.
She urged the athletes to work harder to ensure that Uganda becomes the best in sports in Africa and the world.
“We may have improved on our sports record as we see here but being number 3 or number 11 is not enough, we should work more to be the best.”
She also appealed to the Government to enhance talent identification and development in more than 75% of the districts, by increasing the Annual Subvention to the Uganda Athletics Federation, from the current amount of 3 billion to at least 10 billion Shillings.
The Minister also tasked sports stakeholders to direct more attention to the FEASSSA teams that have carried Uganda’s National Flag to various international competitions, where they emerged victorious.