International Federation of Gymnastics (FIG) President Morinari Watanabe was in Uganda last April on a five-day working visit.
His visit was to see how to help elevate the dilemma of development of the game by giving funding, building human resources technically, and administratively.
To many a Ugandan, Watanabe’s coming was seen widely as right and central to the game of Gymnastics in Uganda. As the World Gymnastics supervisor, Watanabe told the country that he had already prepared a gymnastics development plan for Uganda to help the game grow through leaps and bounds.
That, the international body will help in the growth of this game with a facility (training centre) and equipment. Also, that, the World body will help in the development of coaches and other technical personnel. All this he said and could ensure because “Uganda is among the 24 countries that actively engage in gymnastics in the World and would love to see more of it here.
Barely a month after he proceeded, the guys he was preaching Gymnastics development have long chosen to do otherwise. To them, Watanabe`s development plan and strategy is their ‘Do not develop plan’, and their strategy is very suicidal in nature for the game! Now read this…
At faithfully 10am inside Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) Boardroom on May 24th Tuesday, was seated Miss Harriet Aya –The president of the Gymnastics Association of Uganda (GAU). In front of Aya was Alfred Odongo – The Secretary General of the same body. Spotted in the same boardroom of UOC at Address Plot 2-10 Heskethbell Road Lugogo Sports Complex, were other members of the top local association executives.
This time was not a usual working meeting to discuss matters of gymnastics` developments in the country, but rather one where the executives were fingers pointing against each other and very quarrelsome in manner amongst themselves. Our pry on the walls of the boardroom where the troubled parties sat revealed to The Investigator News Sports desk how “It was nearly a fight, especially involving Aya and Odongo”
“The wars at the Gymnastics body from the onset are financial. Don’t you remember that International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) President Morinari Watanabe was a guest at the offices of the Uganda Olympic Committee?” the source privy to the body asked us before she continued, “The issues are financial. Everyone wants to be an authority and control the money once it arrives in their account.”
While here in April 2022 on his visit to supervise the Gymnastics body, Watanabe stopped at the UOC offices, spoke with UOC President Donald Rukare and members of the UOC Executive Committee. Watanabe’s visit also included a meeting with members of the National Council of Sports, as well as the opportunity to watch a demonstration of gymnastics at the MTN Lugogo Indoor Arena in Lugogo.
Speaking about his visit, Watanabe said: “I am excited to have come to Uganda. I have prepared a gymnastics development plan for Uganda to help the game grow through leaps and bounds,” … But this dream seems to have died on arrival. The mother of all problems at the Gymnastics Association of Uganda is here below;
During a meeting with Uganda’s State Minister of Sports Hamson Obua, Watanabe revealed he had offered the Gymnastics Association of Uganda $1,000,000 (£795,000/€948,000). This, converted into Uganda Shillings, Watanabe was talking about 3,600,000,000/= (Three Billion, six hundred million shillings). So, when Gymnastics Association of Uganda President Harriet Aya said; “We are very glad and lucky that we have the gymnastics President in the whole world here in Uganda,” one should have purely interpreted her words the wrong way.
It’s argued that even the strategic plan that they presented and that Aya would want to follow keenly was how well she should use this money away from that of Gymnastics development.
While other members like the secretary (Odongo) whose aim is to develop this sport in Uganda, Aya has found Odongo as her saboteur who is affecting her personal plans, or so, we are told.
During Watanabe’s visit, he announced that Aya had been appointed to the FIG’s Development Commission on top of being the local president of the Gymnastics body.
That known, Aya has more powers in Uganda than any other member of the top Executive and it is said she could soon dump members of the top Executive, using such powers conferred in her and office. This is a developing story. Till the next fold…
- Mr. Daniels N. Tatya is an affluent Sports Writer, Commentator and Editor. His over 15 years of covering almost major sporting events makes him a revered and an authority on investigative Sports journalism in Uganda. He can also be reached via [email protected] +256(0)758268315
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