Fifteen years ever since President Yoweri Museveni pledged to give Gold medalist and 2006 Commonwealth Steeplechase Champion Docus Inzikuru a car, nothing has yet materialized.
Then known as the Arua gazelle, Golden girl Inzikuru stunned the world at the topmost athletics competition in Melbourne Australia ending the country’s 33-year drought without a gold medal in international athletics. Since then, Uganda has consistently won gold medals at global competitions including the ongoing Tokyo Olympics where both Joshua Cheptegei and Peruth Chemutai have excelled with golden moments.
On arrival, Inzikuru was among other rewards gifted with a car which for unknown reasons, is yet to come. She says She is not alone on the list of sportsmen who have been waiting and whose rewards are still pending yet the list continues to grow.
Speaking to this reporter, Inzikuru says Uganda is not short of talent and much more would have been achieved in Tokyo Olympics going on in Japan, if government support to the sports sector was bigger.
Inzukuru, who is now an athletics coach, expressed fears that the delays in delivery of presidential pledges to sportsmen is an issue that should be quickly addressed to motivate new talent into the sports industry. She also fears some home-grown talents could be tempted to switch citizenship for better opportunities.
She noted that president Museveni’s pledges to athletes including monthly stipends of 5M for Gold, 3M for Silver had ceased while some others who get it are delayed. Inzikuru says following up on these offers has always been problematic.
Asked what she is doing about it, Inzikuru said she has not lost hope and still waiting for the reward from the president.
“I recently summited a letter to the president’s office with a list of those pledges including the car. I am happy that the President’s Private Secretary called me and said ok my daughter I have received your letter and it is going to be worked on” She said adding that she is yet to follow up ever since the 42-day lockdown was lifted.
Displaying a collection of numerous medals she won from several competitions home and abroad, Inzikuru, says there are up to 200 unfulfilled presidential pledges from athletes’ list, a copy of which she summited to the president’s office last year.
She states that her pre-occupation now is to help identify and develop talent in sports “so as to nurture more Inzikuru’s.” She says she was happy to see Peruth Chemutai win gold in Tokyo because those are some of the products of her effort ever since she started on her new roles.
But she is now worried that the recent cabinet reshuffle of Ministers and Permanent Secretaries which saw the Minister for presidency together with the State House comptroller replaced, may again affect or prolong the process to see her grievances addressed.
“Now that the lockdown has been eased, next week I will be starting to follow up how far is the process so that if I get it (car) I will be able to go to the grassroot to identify these talents because that’s my work and I love it so much” She said.
Inzikuru is however thankful to President Yoweri Museveni’s donation of a house save for the threat from Arua city administration’s proposal to demolish Inzikuru’s house to create an access road.
In her passion to develop talent, Inzikuru has already embarked on a dream to construct a Sports Academy in Mutundwe Kampala, fully fledged with facilities covering several sports disciplines including athletics, netball, hockey, swimming and others.
“Right now I have advantage to identify them (young athletes) and give them to institutions like Uganda Police and UPDF who take them during general recruitment where they can access facilities for training” She noted alluding to former IGP Gen Kale Kayihura who together with her received and nurtured the likes of Chemutai.
Docus Inzikuru’s personal achievements in Athletics:
2005 World Championships, Gold (9:18.24)
2005 World Athletics Final, Gold
2006 Commonwealth Games, Gold (9:19.51
1999 World Youth Championships, 8th
1999 African Games, 6th
2000 World Junior Championships, Gold
2002 Commonwealth Games, 4th
2002 African Games, Silver
2003 Afro-Asian Games, Bronze
2000 World Junior Championships, 10th
2004 World Championships (short course), 38th
2005 World Championships (short course), 18th
2007 World Championships, DNF
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