The long-awaited rewards for Uganda’s Olympic medallists came in the form of brand new Mitsubishi Pajeros handed out by President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday at Kololo Independence grounds.null
The hand over was the climax of the state reception hosted by the President to thank the 25-man team that won four medals – two golds, silver and bronze – at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics which wrapped up on Sunday.
A clearly jovial Museveni handed over the cars after speeches from the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Mama Janet Museveni, State sports minister Hamson Denis Obua among several other technocrats.
“I am a happy man now. You know happy men can be generous, I will give each one of them a vehicle,” he said to end his speech which was dominated by the history of sports here.
“Then finally, I will build houses for the parents of these gold medal people,” added Museveni.
First was Joshua Cheptegei, the 10000m silver and 5000m gold medallist. He received keys to a white Mitsubishi Pajero Sport from the President and drove off with his wife, Carol, as co-driver.
Peruth Chemutai, the 3000m women’s steeplechase gold medallist, the first Ugandan woman to win an Olympic medal, was next in the queue. She was handed a blue Parejo Sport. Her husband drove the 22-year runner’s car.
“I am so happy,” said Chemutai, Uganda’s first female Olympic medallist. “I do not know how to drive but I will learn soon.”
Then came Jacob Kiplimo, he came third in the 10000m to get bronze in Japan. He got keys to a grey Pajero Sportero L200. His wife and baby sat on the co-driver’s seat and he drove off.
“This is what I have always wanted,” beaming with a smile, Kiplimo said later as the sun set. “This is now going to encourage us to work harder and bring more medals,” added the world half-marathon champion.
Cars, houses and money have always been the gift as seen with ex-Uganda Cranes captain Denis Onyango and athletes Moses Kipsiro and Stephen Kiprotich when President Museveni has hosted them.
Four medals from Tokyo marked Uganda’s best ever show at the Olympics and the country tied 36th with Greece on the medal table.
Uganda’s medals at Olympics
1968 Mexico City: Eridadi Mukwanga (Bantamweight Silver)
1968 Mexico City: Leo Rwabwogo (Flyweight Bronze)
1972 Munich: John Akii-Bua (400m Hurdles Gold)
1972 Munich: Leo Rwabwogo (Flyweight Silver)
1980 Moscow: John Mugabi (Welterweight Silver)
1996 Atlanta: Davis Kamoga (400m Bronze)
2012 London: Stephen Kiprotich (Marathon Gold)
2020 Tokyo: Joshua Cheptegei (10000m Silver)
2020 Tokyo: Jacob Kiplimo (10000m Bronze)
2020 Tokyo: Peruth Chemutai (3000m Steeplechase Gold)
2020 Tokyo: Joshua Cheptegei (5000m Gold)
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