Dozens of people have lined up Entebbe- Kampala highway on Tuesday afternoon to receive Team Uganda from the just concluded Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The contingent comprising 20 people aboard the Emirates flights led by the Minister of State for Sports, Hamson Obua torched down at Entebbe International airport around 2pm.
The Higher Education State Minister, John Chrysostom Muyingo and officials from the Ministry of Education and Sports, the Uganda Athletic Federation and National Council of Sports received the team. They held a closed-door meeting in the VVIP lounge at Entebbe International Airport, which lasted for over two hours before leaving the airport.
Three athletes including 10,000 meter Olympics Gold medalists, Joshua Cheptegei, 3,000M steeplechase gold medalist Peruth Chemutai and 10,000M bronze medalist Jacob Kiplimo led the scientific procession. The medalists donned their medals around the neck and held the Uganda Flag over their shoulders as travellers, airport staff and people along the streets chanted with excitement.
Airport staff, who were in various sections run to the entrance of the VVIP lounge to get a glimpse of the medalists as they departed the airport. Some of the people, mainly Boda boda riders, fresh fruit vendors and pedestrians could not hide their excitement.
Molly Nakato and Doreen Kebirungi said that they were surprised when they saw the medalists at the State House junction and Katabi Traffic Lights. “We thought it was the president who was leaving State House because we saw the lead cars and later realized it was our champions who have returned home,” Nakato said.
They believe that more people would have lined the streets had they known that the team would be returning.
Residents of Kitooro, Namulanda and Kajjansi who waved back at the procession are happy about the team’s performance at the Olympics.
Some residents of Kitooro and Abaita Ababiri said they have been inspired to join athletics or sports to represent Uganda at such events. They however would have preferred prior communication about the team’s arrival so that they celebrate on the streets.
The relatives of the medalists including their parents were the only ones allowed to access the airport. Uganda scooped two gold medals, one silver and bronze from three track events from a team of 27 athletes presented for the games.
The team comprised 20 runners, 3 boxers, 2 swimmers and a rower. Some of the athletes returned particularly the weightlifters, boxers and runners such as Shida Leni, who did not qualify for the 400m semi-finals returned earlier on.