It was all smiles last night at the first dinner of the year on the USPA calendar as different sports personalities got rewarded by the organization for their different sporting achievements.
The event that was hosted at Imperial Royale Hotel saw Husina Kobugabe of Badminton, Lukiya Nayiga (Pool) and Derrick Kakooza (football) walk away as the nights big winners.
The three winners all walked away with prize money of 500,000 Uganda shillings and plaques honoring their achievements.
The trio emerged on top as they outshone other sports personalities in the past months with Lukiya Nayiga being named the sports personality for the month of January, Husina Kobugabe for February and Derrick Kakooza for March.
The event was graced by different big wigs in the sports arena such as Uganda swimming federation president Moses Mwase and Donald Rukare who doubles as the chairman of the Uganda Olympic committee (UOC) and National Council of sports (NCS) and was the chief guest.
The chief guest Rukare commended the positive relationship between USPA and NCS as he went ahead to praise the different sports personalities for excelling in their respective sports.
‘It is important to recognize the outstanding sportsmen and women for their work for it motivates them perform better. As the National Council of Sports (NCS) and Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC), we trust the relationship with USPA” Rukare said.
The USPA president Patrick Kanyomozi in his address for the day also congratulated the winners and wished them the best in their respective sports.
He went ahead to thank the sponsors and different sports journalists for the tireless work and commitment they put in despite the challenging times of the covid 19 pandemic. The sponsors of this gala include Nile breweries who are the main funders, Rwenzori water, standard chartered Bank, NSSF, City Tyres, Uganda red Cross and Imperial Royale Hotel.
- ‘It has been a long time since we were last here at a quarterly dinner. I give credit to our god-fathers who founded this body in 1970. I would love to thank the sports journalists who have continued to work in the prevailing circumstances of COVID-19. I congratulate all the winners” Kanyomozi said.
A brief summary about the winners.
Derrick Kakooza (football)
He was the USPA sports personality for the month of March after his exploits with the U20 Hippos national team saw him finish as the top scorer with five goals.
His goals helped the team to reach the finals in Mauritania where they fell short to Ghana’s power.
He showed his ambition while thanking the gala for rewarding him and hopes to take his talent to a much bigger team and league especially Europe.
‘I thank USPA for organizing, Nile special for sponsoring, my fellow players, coaches, the federation and everyone who has helped me in my career. This is part of my journey to become the best, I want to win the Ballon d’Or award in five year’s time.’
Husinah Kobugabe (Badminton)
In February she surprised the nation after beating Joshua Cheptegei to the accolade after he had defended and retained his 5000m crown successfully in Monaco
The Ndejje University student won the Uganda international open at Lugogo after partnering with Marble Namakoye.
She went ahead to win the mixed doubles after still partnering with Brian Kasirye.
About the USPA award she had won, Kobugabe had this to say ‘To win such an accolade is a very big honour. I am very happy for the recognition that will keep me working hard’.
Lukiya Nayiga (Pool)
They say winners never quit no matter what’s thrown at them and this was the case with this pool table star.
She was the winner of the January USPA award after miraculously and dramatically winning the Esther Lungu Pool Championship in Malawi.
Nayiga who plays from Ntinda Giants had to travel by road to get to Malawi and even arrived a day prior to the championship.
She caught malaria while there but this did not deter her from emerging champion even defeating African top seed Nicola Rosseau from South Africa.
“I am very happy having won this accolade. I am really humbled by USPA for recognizing me. This will push me an extra mile to perform better” an elated Lukiya narrated.