They left the country in a dampened mood after police raided a Mr and Miss Pride pageant and some were taken to jail barely 48 hours before their departure. However this did not derail their determination to do their best and bring back hope to a community that had been subjected to harassment the previous week.
The Uganda Kuchu Aquatics team led by Diane Bakuraira has been a source of inspiration, hope and joy during a time that many characterize as turbulent. The group of five consisted mainly of people who were first time competitive swimmers and they have managed to wreck in over twenty gold medals. They also got first position in the small teams category; a prize they say they don’t take for granted having been first time competitors at IGLA.
Adebayo Chrisella, who was also Mr Pride 2015 took home four gold medals in the100m butterfly, 50m freestyle,50m butterfly and 4*100m relay .Team Captain Diane wrecked in three bronze medals in 50m backstroke,100m breaststroke, 50m freestyle, one silver in 50m butterfly and gold in 4*100 medley relay.
The team was also made of celebrated LGBT activist Clare Byarugaba, who brought in all golf for each competition she engaged in, as well as two others. UKAT was the only team from Africa that took part in the IGLA 2016 competitions held in Edmonton Canada.
Uganda’s participation in this year’s IGLA competition was made possible by Nate Freeman an American citizen from the state of Iowa who is also an athlete and a human rights activist. He first conceived the idea while doing his internship with Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF), and quickly initiated contact with sports men and women from the Ugandan LGBTI community whom he says had promising talent.
He later contacted associates in the US and other parts of the world and started fundraising to have the five swimmers take part in the prestigious contest.
To the five representatives of Uganda’s Kuchu community, we thank you and are immensely proud of all that you have achieved. You have been instrumental in having us focus on positivity even when the system threw negativity and torture at us.