By Nick Butler 

A sports sector would boost the development of sport in Uganda, it has been claimed ©AFP/Getty ImagesA national sports sector, consisting of Governmental and sporting bodies, athletes and representatives from civil society and the private sector, is required in order to enhance sports development in Uganda, it has been claimed.

Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) secretary general Donald Rukare sees this as a vital way to enable Uganda to take advantage of a "lucrative" global sports industry, because it would provide the "required legal and policy space to nurture talent that would be able to tap into this".

"First off, it is critical that our leadership both political and sporting realize that sports are not entirely a leisure/amateur activity but a growing major professional income generating industry," Rukare explained, in an article sent to insidethegames.

"With this realisation in mind, I would propose that a sports sector akin to the health, education and road sectors is put in place.

"The sports sector would be led by the Ministry of Education and Sports and would bring together the key players in the sports industry.

"These are the Government, National Federations [and] Associations, athlete representatives, the UOC, civil society, private sector and development partners.

"These key players under the lead of the Ministry of Education and Sports would in a participatory and inclusive process develop a national sports policy and law which would guide the sector.

"Following this, a strategic plan would be developed identifying the vision, mission, key objectives and indicators for the sector.

"The plan could, for example, focus on talent identification, elite sports, facilities development, sports administration and management."

The sector is seen as a vital to create more Ugandan champions like Commonwealth Games 10,000m winner Moses Kipsiro ©Getty ImagesThe sector is seen as a vital to create more Ugandan champions like Commonwealth Games 10,000m winner Moses Kipsiro ©Getty Images

This comes as Uganda seek to build upon recent sporting performances, following success at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July and August, with a 62-strong squad scooping five medals, their highest total in 40 years, including a thrilling 10,000 metres victory for defending champion Moses Kipsiro.

At London 2012, Uganda also won a historic gold medal when Stephen Kiprotich won the men's marathon, their first Olympic title since John Akii-Bua won the 400m hurdles at Munich 1972.

But there have also been problems, with UOC President William Blick recently calling for more Government funding in order to continue this upward curve.

He believes the UGX1 billion (£237,000/$383,000/€297,000) currently allocated to sports is too little, and will not allow the nation to compete with continental rivals, like South Africa, let alone the rest of the world. 

But Rukare believes this sports sector, which would meet biannually to agree on priorities for a particular financial year and assess progress, would also cause significant improvement.

"First it leads to enhanced coordination, communication and cooperation among the key sports players in the country," he said.

"It provides a vital leveraging forum to advocate for increased funding for the sector based on measurable indicators and outcomes as outlined in the policy and strategic plan.

"It allows for creation of a road map indicating the key sporting priorities of the country that are owned, accepted and understood by all in the industry.

"In order for Uganda to develop sports men and women who are able to compete and be embedded in the global market, it is essential that a robust, functional sports sector is in place with responsive legal, policy and institutional frameworks in place."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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