The 2023 edition of the Uganda International Challenge was concluded on Sunday at the Lugogo Indoor Arena with finals played for all the five categories.
The event was graced by the State Minister for Sports, Peter Ogwang, who praised the Association for organizing a well-structured event.
“Bringing upto 49 countries in the country is one part where am very impressed. The organization has been very good, in terms of sports tourism and exposure for our children, I would like to commend the federation.” Ogwang said.
Despite Uganda’s underwhelming performance, with the best player for the country bowing out in the round of 32, Minister Ogwang acknowledged the sport’s potential to attract over 40 countries, which would generate significant foreign exchange for the country.
The Minister also revealed plans of commissioning a 15000 seater facility in the next six months, which will be a huge boost to the sports sector.
“Finally plans are underway, for us to have a state of the art indoor Stadium in Lugogo. And I want to confirm we are in negotiations. The President will make the official announcement, but as far as the contract is concerned, we are having discussions.” He added.
Malaysia emerged as the overall winners of the tournament, winning gold medals in both the men’s and women’s singles.
Justin Hoh of Malaysia emerged as the men’s singles gold medalist, while Karupathevan Letshanaa, also from Malaysia, claimed the women’s singles gold medal.
The men’s doubles gold medal went to Pongsakorn Thongkham and Wongsathorn Thongkhar of Thailand, while the women’s doubles gold medal was won by an Indian duo of Trisha Hegde and Khushi Thakkar.
Singapore’s Jun Liang Andy Kwek and Wong Jia Ying Crystal claimed the mixed doubles gold medal.
Looking forward, Minister Ogwang emphasized the need to enhance the capacity of coaches and training facilities to develop Uganda’s badminton talent.
While Uganda may not have performed well in the tournament, the commitment of the State Minister for Sports to support the development of badminton in the country is a positive step towards realizing the sport’s potential as a significant contributor to Uganda’s foreign exchange earnings.
The juniors championship is up next, starting on Monday, February 27th, at the Lugogo Indoor Arena.