Uganda Paralympics Committee to Popularize Sports For PWDs

2008 Views Gulu, Uganda

In short
Bumali says they believe that popularizing the games will open windows of opportunities for talents buried in different parts of the country to be identified to contribute to national development.

The national Uganda Paralympics Committee is all out to popularize Paralympic games and sports across the country. The Committee is showcasing part of the 19 Paralympics games and sports disciplines in which Uganda participates at the fourth edition of the annual national Paralympics sports gala being held in Gulu district.

Hajj Mpindi Bumali, the President of Uganda Paralympic Committee, the body charged with the development, coordination and promotion of sports for persons with disability in Uganda, says the took the games to Gulu as part of their strategic objectives to popularize games for persons with disabilities in the country.

Bumali says they believe that popularizing the games will open windows of opportunities for talents buried in different parts of the country to be identified to contribute to national development.

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Ten teams participating in the gala are drawn from Kyambogo University, Makerere Business School, Makerere University and the districts of Arua, Moyo, Kisoro, Luweero, Lira, Gulu and Kampala. According to Hajj Bumali, the championship is being used to identify potential athletes who will represent the country in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic games in Japan.

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The Committee is also using the championship to demystify stereotypes associated with persons with disabilities that they are unable to participate in some sport disciplines.

The other is to mobilize communities to observe and promote rights of persons and children with disabilities to access services such as education, healthcare and economic services.

David Emong fetched Uganda's first Gold Medal from the World Para Athletics Championship in London after winning Silver in Rio Paralympics Games in 2016. Hajj Bumali says the games are changing lives of the persons with disabilities across the country in amazing ways.  

Innocent Tuwmesigye, the General Secretary of the Committee says some of the games which rolled off on Tuesday afternoon at Gulu High School Playground, Kaunda Grounds and St. Joseph's College Layibi include Athletics, Wheel Chair Basketball, Goalball, Sitting Volleyball, Show Down, Wheelchair Racing and Swimming amongst others. 

Tumwesigye says the gala is part of preparations for the forthcoming East Africa Goal Ball Tournament scheduled from October 20 - 30th at Lugogo Cricket Oval in Kampala. He says most of the games played by persons with disabilities are not clearly understood by many despite being very inspirational.

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He says sports for persons with disabilities are often very inspirational to watch as visually impaired athletes are blindfolded to compete with the help of guides while those with physical disability require improved gadgets to balance them to run.

Uganda is signatory to UN treaty on the rights of persons with disabilities agreed at the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. Article 30 of the treaty requires UN Member countries who have ratified the treaty to allocate a percentage of their national budget towards promotion of the rights and welfare of persons with disabilities including games and sports.

However, the Uganda Paralympics Committee says access to adequate financial resources to promote the development of Paralympic games and rights of persons with disabilities remain a big challenge in Uganda.

Bumali urges stakeholders to invest resources in sponsoring Paralympic games to create jobs and employment to persons with disabilities. 


About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.