A heroic welcome after winning four medals from Rwanda
Team leader Martin Obonyo with the 3 athletes who won medals in ANOCA Zone V Youth
Games upon arrival from Rwanda on Tuesday (Photo: David Mono Danga)
Left to Right: (Flora Aluel, Taekwondo-Silver, Martin Obonyo team leader holding the Basketball trophy,
Mazin Nadi-Nimra Talata’s basketball star earned two medals and Joseph
Akoon Akoon won bronze in 400m. (Photo: David Mono Danga)
By David Mono Danga
From Grass to Grace and from amateurs to champions. That is how South Sudan’s athletes fated while representing their country in the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) Zone V games in Huye, Rwanda.
Hundreds of citizens rushed to Gumbo Shirikat to welcome the athletes returning by bus all the way from Rwanda where South Sudan Team finished 7th on the table in the 2019 ANOCA Zone V Youth Games in Huye, Rwanda, collecting a total of 4 medals, a Gold and Silver in Basketball, a silver in Taekwondo and a bronze in athletics.
Nimra Talata’s basketball star, Mazim Nadir was given the overall best shooter award having led his country to the finals of the Basketball. He received a Gold medal and the team received Silver in the discipline.
In the Taekwondo discipline, Flora Aluel earned a Silver medal after finishing second to the well-built French sides.
South Sudan’s blessing came from short race runner, Joseph Akoon Akoon who won the country’s first medal when he finished third to earn a bronze medal in the boys’ 400m final. Kenya’s Stash Olenge collected silver behind Uganda’s Santos Akabo who won the Gold medal.
In the Girls’ 3000m, Ester Mami finished 4th missing the bronze medal by 4 seconds. Kenya’s Enit Yeko won the gold medal. Meanwhile, in the Boy’s 5000m South Sudan’s Joseph Otomure also missed a medal by just 8 seconds behind Kenya’s Team Captain Jackson Kavesa.
During a welcoming ceremony at the South Sudan National Olympic Committee (SSNOC) in Nimra Talata, the team leader, Stephen Kamilo urged parents to encourage their children to participate in sports activities. He also urged schools to promote activities because that is the foundation and right career to develop children’s talents.
The chairperson of the SSNOC, Eng. Juma Stephen applauded the athletes for raising the name of the country in the sports arena. “Congratulations to all of you. You deserve recognition for selfless service for your country. Carry on with this spirit because you are the future of this country,” Eng. Juma said.
He called on the government to increase the budget of the youth and sports so as not to deprive the talented athletes the right to travel and participate in international events.
Dr. Tong Chor, SSNOC Secretary General scorned the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sports for its reluctance to provide financial support to facilitate the athletes to Rwanda.
Dr. Tong said due to the limited financial support the Olympic Committee could only afford a bus fare to Rwanda. He revealed that financial constraints made the athletes not to participate to the best of their abilities due to exhaustion from the long drive from Juba to Rwanda through Uganda.
The newly appointed Undersecretary in the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Kuach Wek Wol promised to work with the various sports federations to address the problems raised to the ministry this time around
“I am going to stand with you (National Olympic Committee) in times of happiness and in times of sorrows. I promise to address the issues affecting the progress of sports in the different disciplines,” Wol promised.
“But I cannot do it alone. Let us do things together because one hand cannot clap. Together we can move mountains,” Wol stressed.
South Sudan participated in four of the five disciplines at the ANOCA ZONE V Youth Games in Huye –Rwanda; athletics, basketball 3×3, cycling, taekwondo and beach volleyball.
South Sudan could not get athletes for the cycling sports disciple due to the unpopularity of the sport in the country.
Team Kenya finished top of the table in the 2019 ANOCA Zone V Youth Games in Huye, Rwanda, collecting a total of nine medals; 4 Gold, 4 Silver and 1 Bronze.
10 countries participated in the Zone V games plus France who were the guests’ country and the Refugees Team. The Zone V states include hosts Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia and Tanzania.
Egypt will host next year’s youth games, ANOCA announced at the closing ceremony on Saturday.