Sunday was the first event in the Kampala Slum Olympics 2012, a fun event over eight weeks for kids in the Acholi Quarter Slum, in North East Kampala. The event will culminate with the Slum Run 2012, a 10,000m five circuit run around the slum district, which will be matched with a 10,000m run in Birmingham, UK on 12th August 2012 at 2.00pm.
The events are being organised by 17 year-old Francis Ssuuna, a member of the Butterfly Project in Uganda, which trains up young people in Uganda to be social entrepreneurs and changemakers. Francis is a runner and athlete himself and he wants to use his talent to teach other young people to look after themselves well and also to find their sporting talent.
The first event in his programme is the 800m and there will be a new event every Sunday leading up to the London Olympics. For his Slum Olympics, Francis has divided his runners into “teams”, each of which is represented by the flag of a country – USA, UK, Uganda and Brazil. As the events progress, each team will score points and the points will be carried forward from week to week. At the end of the Slum Olympics, the participants will be reward with medals and their school fees paid for this coming term.
While this is just a fun event that the kids have decided to do on their own, Francis’s group does have some of the very best young athletes in Uganda and he has been training them now for two years. James Ochola and his brother Peter Ola have won national events for their age group and many of the kids have participated in the John Akii Bua Memorial Meet, where Peter came 6th in the U19 1500m race, aged 12. We can’t verify the times for the 800m, as the track they are used for the 800m was not properly marked, but this was a race and the times recorded are excellent:
1st – Peter Ola – 1:55 – Team USA – 5 points
2nd – Samuel Ochaka – 1:59 – Team Uganda – 4 points
3rd – Isaac Okot – 2:02 – Team Uganda – 3 points
4th – Alfred Ochaka – 2:20 – Team Uganda – 2 points
5th – Walter Otim – 2:29 – Team Brazil – 1 point
6th – Innocent Kilara – 3:10 – Team USA
7th – Simon Peter Ola – 3:51 – Team Uganda
8th – Eric Ojok – 4:00 – Team USA
Uganda has no official youth athletics in Kampala for this 8-15 age group, though there are some official events in the rural events around the country. Therefore, children are not being given an opportunity to show their talents. The best runners in this group would compete well with the best of children in the UK, who end up being Olympians, but in Uganda, you are very fortunate to ever be able to represent your country in sport, aside from in football, where the competition is very high.
If you would like to help sponsor this event, then please contact us at this email address. All monies sponsored go directly to the kids you see in the photographs.