Uganda’s Parliament has celebrated the tremendous achievement of Joshua Cheptegei, who won the gold medal in the 10,000 meters race at the World Athletics Championships in Hungary.
Cheptegei’s victory marked his third consecutive world athletics championship win, a feat that has only been achieved by a select few legendary athletes such as Haile Gebrselassie, Kenenisa Belele, and Mo Farah.
During a plenary sitting on Tuesday, August 22, 2023, the Chief Opposition Chief, Hon. John Baptist Nambeshe, called upon the Ministry of Education and Sports to expedite the completion of the Teryet National High Altitude Training Centre in Kapchorwa District. Nambeshe believes that fast-tracking the completion of this training center is the best way to pay tribute to Cheptegei’s extraordinary talent.
The construction of the Teryet High Altitude Training Centre began in 2012 and was initially scheduled to be handed over in 2020. However, progress has been slow, and Nambeshe expressed his frustration, stating that the authorities responsible for the project have been dragging their feet.
He emphasized that if the high altitude training center were already operational, Ugandan athletes would not have to travel to neighboring Kenya for their training.
Nambeshe revealed that an estimated amount of Shs26 billion has already been spent on the project. Despite this substantial investment, he argued that there has been little to show for it on the ground.
He called on the Ministry of Education and Sports to ensure that the remaining work is completed promptly to provide a suitable training facility for Uganda’s talented athletes.
In response to Nambeshe’s concerns, the State Minister for Education and Sports, Hon. John Chrysostom Muyingo, assured the parliament that 98 percent of the work on the Teryet High Altitude Training Centre has been completed. While this news is encouraging, it is essential to remind ourselves that the true value of completing and utilizing this training center lies in providing Ugandan athletes with a world-class facility to hone and further develop their skills.
The significance of this achievement by Joshua Cheptegei cannot be overstated. He has not only brought immense pride and glory to Uganda but has also showcased the incredible potential and talent that exists within the country. It is therefore crucial that the necessary infrastructure, such as the Teryet High Altitude Training Centre, is in place to nurture and support future athletes.
“We are pleased to inform you that the high altitude training centre is nearing completion,” stated Muyingo confidently. He further mentioned that they would soon extend an invitation to showcase the impressive progress being made at the facility.
Hon. Joseph Ssewungu (NUP, Kalungu West County) expressed his concerns regarding the readiness of the training centre, questioning whether it would be suitable for their athletes and suggesting that they wouldn’t need to train in Kenya if it were so. He also highlighted the unavailability of functional stadiums in Uganda, which prevents them from hosting FIFA games.
In response, the Deputy Speaker requested the State Minister for Sports to provide an update on the status of both football stadiums and the high altitude training centre by Thursday, 24 August 2023.
To address further issues related to Ugandan athletes’ performance and participation in international competitions, Hon. Allan Ssewanyana (NUP, Makindye Division West) urged the minister to include these concerns in his statement.
Additionally, Hon. Michael Kakembo (NUP, Entebbe Municipality) urged the Ministry of Education and Sports to allocate funding for Ugandan athletes participating in the qualifiers for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Muyingo assured everyone that they had allocated a budget for these programs and that funds would be disbursed accordingly among different teams.