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Ugandan athletes receive heroic welcome
home after 2018 Commonwealth Games

ENTEBBE Uganda (Xinhua) -- Ugandan athletes on Thursday received a heroic welcome home from the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.

Fans gathered at Entebbe International Airport, 40km south of the capital Kampala to see the athletes who came back with three gold medals, and two bronze medals, the highest number of medals the country has ever won in a single international event.

Janet Museveni, minister of education and sports told the team on arrival that government will increase its sports budget.

“We have decided that the sports sector needs more investment and this will bring more medals and market the country more. We can see the country has potential to perform in sport,” she said flanked by other government officials.

She thanked the team for the performance they exhibited at the Games in Australia.

At the Games, Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei won two gold medals in the 5,000m and 10,000m, while Stella Chesang bagged the women’s 10,000m gold medal and Mercyline Chelangat bagged a bronze in the same race. Boxer Juma Miiro picked a bronze medal in the 46-49kg weight category.

“I am happy to be a Commonwealth Games double gold medalist. I have also entered the record books and this makes me happy to win them for my country,” Cheptegei told Xinhua in an interview.

Charles Bakkabulindi, minister of state for sports said the young athletes have gained more international exposure even in other events like javelin where Uganda was not fielding athletes in the past.

After the meeting, the fans accompanied the team to the capital Kampala.



Three more Ugandan athletes disappear after Commonwealth Games

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Three more Ugandan athletes have disappeared in Australia after the conclusion of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Charles Bakkabulindi, minister of state for sports told Xinhua on Thursday that the three did not board the plane to return home.

The three who disappeared include Regan Ssimbwa, Nasir Bashir and table tennis female player Halima Nambozo.

This brings the number to five Ugandans who disappeared during this sports event. Last week two weightlifters Irene Kasubo and Kalidi Batuusa disappeared.

Bakkabulindi told Xinhua that this behavior may make it difficult for countries to give Ugandan athletes visas to attend international sports events.

“We are also going to screen players more, so that we are sure athletes will not disappear when they travel to represent the country. We must become tough with this matter,” the minister said.

Robert Jjagwe, Chairman of the Uganda Table Tennis Association said it is sad that one of their gifted female players has chosen to vanish.

Besides Uganda, athletes from Rwanda, Cameroon and Sierra Leone are reported to have vanished during the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Authorities in Australia say they will only start looking for the athletes who disappeared during the Games when their visas expire on May 15.

Uganda finished in 15th place after sending a team of 69 athletes and competed in 11 disciplines.

Joshua Kiprui Cheptegei won two gold medals in the 5,000m and 10,000m, while Stella Chesang bagged the women’s 10,000m gold medal and Mercyline Chelangat bagged a bronze in the same race. Boxer Juma Miiro picked a bronze medal in the 46-49kg weight category.



EU to subject Ugandan agro-products to rigorous checks over fall armyworms

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) will start this June subject Uganda’s agro-products to rigorous checks due to the fall armyworm, a senior government official has said

Steven Byantware, Commissioner for Crop Protection told a farmers’ meeting that EU’s intention is to scrutinize Ugandan exports for the worms that are decimating crops.

The fall armyworm is technically classified as quarantined pest under the International Plant Protection Convention, an international agreement that aims to protect cultivated and wild plants by preventing the introduction and spread of pests.

Under the convention, countries are granted right to impose phytosanitary measures to stop imports of products in which outbreak of quarantined pests have been confirmed.

Byantware said the EU, one of the biggest importers of Ugandan flowers, vegetables and pepper has strict phytosanitary requirements which may require consignments from Uganda to enter through specified points of entry.

Uganda earns approximately 800 million U.S. dollars from flowers and other agricultural products annually, according to government figures.

Godfrey Asea, Director of the National Crops Resources Research Institute said government is confident that the latest field trials of genetically modified drought-tolerant and insect-resistant crops are yielding promising results.

He said the ongoing trial of Water Efficient Maize for Africa hybrids at the institution located in central Uganda, shows strong protection against both stem borer and fall armyworm pests.

“We have done our research, now we have to make sure it reaches the farmer. This is the fourth trial, and I think we have enough results to confirm victory over the pest,” he said.

Uganda however lacks a law that allows the cultivation of genetically modified crops.

Asea said the infestation of fall armyworms believed to have begun in the second season last year is an invasive Central American species that is harder to detect and eradicate than the armyworms that have previously existed in the country.

According to the ministry of agriculture, the outbreak was first reported in Nigeria before attacking southern African countries, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and then Uganda.



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