Uganda Showing of Excellence at the 1973 All-Africa Games in Lagos, Nigeria

The second All Africa Games were held in Lagos in Nigeria in January 1973. The performance of Uganda still stands as overwhelmingly her best ever at these Africa Games. In the athletics realm, Uganda ended up with 6 gold medals, 2 bronze medals, and 4 bronze medals, placing Uganda fourth overall behind Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria, respectively. The Uganda female athletes won four gold medals (Christine Anyakun [800 meters], Peace Kesiime [1500 meters], Constance Rwabiryagye [Javelin throw], and the 4 x 400 meters-relay) and two bronze medals (Budesia Nyakecho [100 meters-hurdles] and Christine Kabanda [long jump]. It was the women's performance that elevated Uganda's performance at the Games. The sole Uganda men's gold medals were won by John Akii-Bua (400 meters-hurdles) and Yovan Ochola (hammer). During the 1960's and 1970's era, likely because of educational and employment access, Uganda women were ahead of their neighboring Kenya women in the realm of sports.

Men:

-400 Meters-Hurdles. John Akii-Bua-Uganda Gold medal (48.54 seconds); William Koskei-Kenya Silver medal (50.22 seconds); Silver Ayoo-Uganda Bronze medal (50.25 seconds).

-Triple Jump. Mansour Dia-Senegal Gold medal (16.53 meters); Abraham Munabi-Uganda Silver medal (16.26 meters); Moise Pomaney-Ghana Bronze medal (16.09 meters).

-Hammer Throw. Yovan Ochola-Uganda Gold medal (50.64 meters); Gabriel Luzira-Uganda Silver medal (49.86 meters); Nagmeddin Shaheen-Egypt Bronze medal (47.58 meters).

-4 x 400 Meters Relay. Kenya Gold medal (3 minute, 6.38 seconds); Nigeria Silver medal (3 minutes, 6.98 seconds); Uganda Bronze medal (3 minutes, 7.21 seconds).

Women:

-800 Meters. Christine Anyakun-Uganda Gold medal (2 minutes, 9.5 seconds); Rosalind Joshua-Nigeria silver medal (2 minutes, 10.7 seconds); Helena Opoku-Ghana Bronze medal (2 minutes, 11.7 seconds).

1500 Meters. Peace Kesiime-Uganda Gold medal (4 minutes, 38.7 seconds); Mary Wagaki-Kenya Silver medal (4 minutes, 38.8 seconds); Ruth Yeboah-Ghana Bronze medal (4 minutes, 42.3 seconds).

100 Meters-Hurdles. Modupe Oshikoya-Nigeria Gold medal (14.28 seconds); Emilia Edet-Nigeria Silver medal (14.48 seconds); Budesia Nyakecho-Uganda Bronze medal (15.29 seconds).

Long Jump. Modupe Oshikoya-Nigeria Gold medal (6.16 meters); Margaret Odafin-Nigeria Silver medal (6.07 meters); Christine Kabanda-Uganda Bronze medal (5.73 meters).

Javelin Throw. Constance Rwabiryagye-Uganda Gold medal (47.50 meters); Lillian Cherotich-Kenya Silver medal (41.94 meters); Angelina Chekpiyeng-Kenya Bronze medal (39.12 meters).

4 x 400 Meters-Relay. Uganda Gold medal (3 minutes, 45.42 seconds); Nigeria Silver medal (3 minutes, 45.69 seconds); Kenya Bronze medal (3 minutes, 46.06 seconds).

Additional Uganda gold medal wins were in boxing: James Odwori and Daniel Omolo. Uganda, with an overall medal tally of 8 gold, 6 silver, and 6 bronze medals emerged fifth overall on the continent behind Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana, respectively. This was a milestone for Uganda. The nation has thereafter never got even remotely close to that performance at the All-Africa Games.

Jonathan Musere

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