Uganda Olympic Committee president Rogers Ddungu

Ugandan boxing will have hit an unprecedented low if the country fails to send a team to the 2012 London Olympics.

The boxing fraternity has been embroiled in administrative wrangles for the past four years and the sport’s international governing body, AIBA, has hinted at banning Uganda from all boxing activities.

“They (AIBA) have given us until February 29 to put our house in order,” Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) president Roger Ddungu told the media yesterday.

According to Ddungu, elections for a new Uganda Amateur Boxing Federation (UABF) executive must be conducted before the AIBA set deadline. “Less of that, we shall not be allowed to compete in any international events including the Olympics,” Ddungu, who resigned as UABF boss in 2009, added.

Boxing is Uganda’s most successful sport, contributing four of the country’s six Olympic medals.

The last time Uganda was not represented at the Olympics was 1976 in Montreal, Canada but then, it was among the 29 countries that boycotted the event protesting New Zealand’s tour of apartheid South Africa. The boycott also saw Ugandan legend, the late John Akii-Bua, miss defending his 400m hurdles gold that he had won in Munich 1972.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Uganda had only one boxer in Ronald Serugo. However, tired of the administrative bickering, Serugo alongside Atanus Mugerwa deserted the national team for greener pastures in Europe late last year.

The duo, favoured to qualify for the Games starting July 27 in London, had been picked by AIBA to undergo specialised training ahead of the showpiece. They decided to skip the camp. “We asked AIBA to allow us replace the two but they said they were tired of our disorganisation,” noting that AIBA mandated UOC to oversee boxing activities, Ddungu added. Ddungu revealed a normalisation committee involving representatives from aggreived camps will sit this week to try and fix the mess.

But there is little hope from the committee since there is an impending court case involving Godfrey Nyakana and National Council of Sports general secretary Jasper Aligawesa. Nyakana, who was voted UABF president after Ddungu’s resignation in 2009 claims to be the legitimate head of the body but has faced fierce resistance from a rival body led by Ntege Ssengendo.

Nyakana and other legendary boxers like Tom Kawere and Justin Jjuuko insist Ddungu is hugely to blame for the mess due to his backing of the Ssengendo camp.

Ssengendo was vice-president in Ddungu’s reign.

Nyakana is equally less optimistic on London.

“The Olympics chances are very narrow,” Nyakana, a former Commonwealth champion, said. “I doubt we will have confident boxers with this limited time.”

By Andrew Mwanguhya, Daily Monitor

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