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By Our Reporter
The MTN Kampala Marathon kicked off on Sunday with the 10km wheelchair race.
Unlike the previous (2019) edition that featured the wheelchair race on the same day as the other races, this year, a special date was set for the wheelchair race as was the norm in the earlier marathons, to give the wheelchair race the prominence and recognition that it deserves.
Despite the early morning shower that hit Kampala, the wheelchair race attracted 20 participants who were flagged off by UAF and MTN Uganda officials at the Lugogo by-pass for a 10KM race around Kololo, a Kampala suburb and back through Jinja Road to finish at the Lugogo by-pass.
Paul Okello, the organizing secretary of the Uganda Athletics Federation expressed his excitement over the return of the MTN Kampala Marathon following a two-year break and thanked the participants who turned up for the wheelchair race.
“I thank the participants who turned up today for the wheelchair race and I would like to remind all the people with disabilities to take interest in this race as disability is not inability. We are also working towards acquiring more race wheelchairs as they are costly and a major hindrance to the people who would like to participate in this race,” Okello said.
In first place was Richard Ocira, an electronic repair and maintenance expert based in Gulu city. He won Ugx.3 million.
“In 2019 I was in second place so this year, I am happy to have won this year, after waiting for 2 years. The weather (rain) was good for me and I just raced without minding who was behind me,” Opio said upon crossing the finish line, minutes ahead of the second winner.
In second place for the men’s category was the 2019 defending champion, Kevin Mubiru, a fourth-year computer science student at Makerere University. He urged people with disabilities to keep exercising for better mental and physical health. Mubiru won Ugx.1.5Million shillings.
In third place was Brian Mugabe, a nursery teacher at Mulago Beupa learning site who was participating in the MTN Kampala Marathon for the first time. He won Ugx.1 million.
On the women’s side, Achai Pauline, a retailer based in Gulu city claimed the first position for the 4th time in a row, earning herself a cash prize of Ugx.3 million.
“I thank MTN Uganda for involving us people with disabilities in the MTN Kampala Marathon. It makes us feel seen and acknowledged,” Achai said.
In second place was Lorna Lamono who won 1.5 million while her colleague, Florence Acen won Ugx.1 million for her 3rd place position.
All 6 wheelchair race winners shall receive their prizes on Sunday 20th November along with the other winners in the upcoming races.
The other races of the MTN Kampala Marathon, including the full marathon (42Km), half marathon (21Km), 10Km race and 5Km fun run will be held on Sunday, 20th November starting at the Kololo independence grounds.
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