KAMPALA, UGANDA - Uganda’s Para-Badminton team is preparing for the World Championships in Basel, Switzerland, later this month. The team has the second-highest ranked player in Africa and aims to compete at the 2020 Summer Paralympic Games in Tokyo, when Para-Badminton will make its debut. But limited resources make their participation uncertain.
Elizabeth Mwesigwa is Uganda’s para-badminton champion and the second highest-ranking player in Africa.
The team is doing its best to prepare for the Para-Badminton World Championships in Basel, Switzerland, starting Aug. 20.
Equipment and travel
But Mwesigwa says they are sorely under-resourced, have to buy their own equipment, and often train themselves.
“Getting shuttles, getting everything, plus the shoe(s), clothes, everything; it’s somehow expensive,” she said. “Plus, the coaches, sometime(s), we reach at the court, we train without coach.”
Para-players need specialized equipment such as wheelchairs.
But for travel to the World Championships in Switzerland, they will get support.
Mugabi Simon is the chief executive officer of the Uganda Badminton Association.
“Our team as Uganda is prepared, because we have come a long way. As you have seen them today, it’s not that they have just started training. They have been, in various trainings before this,” he said.
Uganda’s players look forward to the international exposure, despite the challenges they face at home.
Kasirye Paddy is Uganda’s No. 2-ranked para-badminton player.
“Like, for me am working, then after then I come for training, because the government cannot pay you,” he said. “But I like the game. So, that’s what gives me confidence that am getting challenges from people who are better than me.”
Para-Badminton will make its debut at the 2020 Summer Paralympic Games in Tokyo. The event in Basel will be the first Paralympic qualifier.
Although Mwesigwa’s high-ranking position in Africa qualifies her for the Tokyo games, it’s not yet clear if the team will get enough support to travel to Japan.