Saturday, 7 July 2012


The legendary Olympian Tommie Smith arrives in London
Operation Black Vote will host one of the greatest Olympians that have lived. Dr Tommie Smith’s status was secured when in 1968 at the Mexico Olympic Games  he smashed the world record for 200 meters,-a record that was held for 40 years- and during the medal ceremony he, along with fellow African American John Carlos  bowed his head and raised his fist. To this day that Salute is one of the most iconic images of any Olympic games.
In collaboration with Operation Black Vote and Freshwater PLC, Dr Tommie  Smith will speak at Westminster University, Houses of Parliament and a star studded audience for the UK film Premiere ‘Salute’.
Organiser of the visit Simon Woolley stated: 
“With just a few weeks to go before our London 2012 Games, Tommie Smith’s visit is a wonderful symbol of excellence and integrity. Whilst at the pinnacle of his career he silently screamed, ‘This is more than just about me, It is about social and racial injustice!’”
Part of Smith’s visit will be to engage with an audience of 500 students at Westminster University.
Dr Tommie Smith said:
” I’m really excited about this visit to London in its Olympic year. I spend a lot of my time talking to students and the new generation of athletes around the world. My message is clear: be the best not just in sports but in all aspects of your life.”
Part of Dr Tommie Smith’s visit is to attend the UK premiere of the film ‘Salute’, a documentary about the untold story in regards to the three Olympians on the winning podium at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, including Tommie Smith and Jon Carlos, aided by Australian Peter Norman.
Peter Norman’s nephew, Matt Norman made the documentary of the story behind the iconic salute that left all three athletes ostracized from the sport they loved
The UK Premiere, distributed by Arrow Films will be held on Wednesday July 11th, at the Mayfair Hotel. A Q&A session with Dr Smith and Tessa Sanderson CBE, chaired by Trevor Phillips OBE will follow the screening.



Akii-Bua: The chief’s son who became athletics king

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Akii-Bua: The chief’s son who became athletics king
By Robert Mugagga  (email the author)

Posted  Sunday, July 1  2012 at  01:00

For the last 50 years since Uganda became independent, no sports achievement can beat what late John Akii-Bua accompolished. Akii-Bua is actually among the very few Africans recognised among the world’s 100 best athletes of all time along side the likes of Kipchoge Keino (Kenya), Hassiba Boulmerka (Algeria), Abebe Bikila (Ethiopia), and Saidi Aouita (Morocco).

In the 1972 Olympics held in Munich, Germany, this greatest Ugandan sports personality of all time made history by winning the 400 metre hurdles with world record time of 47.82 seconds. Although prior to the Olympic games, Akii-Bua had proved his worth in most athletics events after the Commonwealth Games in Perth, Australia he was advised by Uganda police athletics coach Jerome Ochama to embark on specialized systematic training in athletics.
Later Akii-Bua’s chances brightened with arrival of Arnold Malcom, an athletics coach from Wales seconded by the British government to train Uganda’s athletes. It took Arnold jut a few weeks to spot Akii-Bua’s potential and within no time discovered that the hugely talented Ugandan was superb in the hurdles.
Later with the guidance of Arnold, Akii-Bua made the time for 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico in the 400 metre hurdles (52.00 seconds) but somehow failed to make it in the 110 metre hurdles whose qualifying times was 14.30 seconds , failing short by only 0.10 seconds.
In other international athletics meets in which Uganda participated, Akii-Bua teamed up with the country’s other top athletes of the time like Aggrey Awori (former minister and MP) and Steven Erone. Akii-Bua’s Olympic medal campaign began in early 1971 when he timed and gauged his performance against the world record of Britain’s David Hemery and within no time at Wankulukuku stadium became the first African to run the 400 metre hurdles under 50.00 seconds.
This was disputed by John Valzian, a mzungu coach attached to Kenya who was also in charge of Kenyan Billy Koskei, the man who had beaten Akii-Bua in the Edinburg Commonwealth Games of 1970.
A chance to prove himself came a few weeks later when four countries USA, Germany, Russia and the rest of the world team met that June in Berkely, California and Arnold used his influence to get Akii-Bua invited along.
To the great surprise of the world, the Ugandan won the 400 metre hurdles quite easily in 50.20 seconds and in the 400 metre flat relay he achored in for the rest of the world team to win easily.
From then on, the name Akii-Bua began to to be sung in sports media and invitations poured in. In July 1971, there was an inauguration competitions between Germany, USA and Pan African teams in Durham, North Carolina, USA. At this invitation in which all the great stars at the distance were present, Akii-Bua clocked 49.00 seconds.
This marked the official recognition of Akii-Bua around the world and he thereafter got various invitations in Europe and Scandinavian countries. Before heading for the Munich Games of 1972, Akii-Bua is said to have done a total of 800km of cross country running in addition to the jogging exercise and weight training which he did in order to build his muscles.
Coach Arnold’s only ambition was to see Akii-Bua smash the then 400 metre hurdles world record of 43.01 seconds held by David Hemery of Britain and this Akii-Bua did during a practice session but it was kept a secret by his coach. When the September Munich Games came, Akii-Bua was indeed at his peak.
During the elimination rounds, he easily went through. In the semi finals, however disaster befell him when he hit an hurdle and got a deep cut on the left knee. The same day he had a tooth extracted which resulted into a swollen cheek. Tension was reportedly high in the Ugandan camp on the day of the finals. The team doctor, one Kasirye refused to have the cut stitched in the fear of weakening him and the Ugandan ambassador then, Prince John Barigye was also equally concerned .
The previous night, Akii-Bua had refused to talk to anyone or eat anything as his mind was set on the finals, causing even more tension in the Ugandan camp. Then finally came the finals and the announcer called the hurdlers to the starting point. This is when his coach Arnold Malcom told him to remember hurdle number five. At hurdle number five is where he had been instructed to change his stride pattern from the left leg to the right.
Though he was on a disadvantageous lane, he made no mistake but ran fastest to clock 47.82 seconds-setting a new world record. In second place finished Ronald Mann of USA (48.51). David Hemery of Britain was third in 48.52 seconds, fourth emerged Joe Seymour of USA (48.64) and in fifth place came Riut Schubert of Germany.
The joy amongst Ugandans in the Munich Olympic stadium was reportedly beyond description. Ambassador John Barigye jumped on the foray while Akii-Bua himself kept crying and laughing at the same time in disbelief.

 Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania, Mheshimiwa Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete amesema kuwa hali ya mashariki mwa Jamhuri ya Kidemokrasia ya Congo (DRC) inatia wasiwasi na hivyo Tanzania inafuatilia kwa makini hali inavyoendelea katika eneo hilo la nchi hiyo jirani.
Aidha, Rais Kikwete amesema kuwa Tanzania ingependa kuona hali ya amani inarejea katika DRC kwa sababu nchi hiyo inahitaji kupata muda wa amani ili waelekeze nguvu zake kwenye maendeleo badala ya kupigana.
Rais Kikwete amesema hayo jana, Jumanne, Juni 3, 2012, wakati alipokutana na kufanya mazungumzo na Profesa Ntumra Luaba Alphonce, Katibu Mtendaji wa Umoja wa Nchi za Maziwa Makuu wa International Conference on Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) kwenye Hoteli ya Roca Golf mjini Bujumbura, Burundi.
Rais Kikwete akifuatana na Mama Salma Kikwete alikuwa mjini Bujumbura kushiriki katika Sherehe za Miaka 50 ya Uhuru wa Burundi na kurejea nyumbani jana, 3 Juni, 2012. Kabla ya kuja hapa, Rais Kikwete alikuwa mjini Kigali, Rwanda, kushiriki katika sherehe za namna hiyo zilizofanyika Julai Mosi, mwaka huu. Rwanda na Burundi zilipata uhuru kutoka kwa Wabelgiji Julai Mosi na Julai 2, mwaka 1962.
Rais Kikwete amemwambia Katibu Mtendaji huyo: “ Kwa hakika hali mashariki mwa Congo inatutia wasiwasi mkubwa na Tanzania inafuatilia kwa makini hali hiyo. Congo imekuwa katika vita muda mrefu kupita kiasi kwa sababu tokea mwaka 1997 imekuwa katika vita mfululizo.”
Ameongeza Rais Kikwete: “Wakati umefika kwa Congo kutulia ili nguvu inayoingia katika mapambano na vita ielekezwe katika maendeleo ya wananchi wa nchi hiyo.”
Rais Kikwete pia ameunga mkono wazo la kuitishwa kwa mkutano wa mawaziri wa nchi wanachama wa ICGLR ili kujadili hali ilivyo katika mashariki mwa Congo kufuatia ombi la DRC kutaka kuitishwa kwa mkutano huo.
Hali katika mashariki mwa Congo imeanza kutia wasiwasi baada ya kikundi cha waasi wa Serikali ya nchi hiyo wakiongozwa na jambazi la kivita John Bosco Ntaganda kuanza tena harakati zake za kivita dhidi ya Serikali ya Rais Joseph Kabila.
Usiku wa jana, Jumanne, Julai 3, 2012, alikutana na kufanya mazungumzo na Rais wa DRC,Mheshimiwa Kabila kuhusu hali ilivyo mashariki mwa DRC. Wakati akiwa Kigali, Rwanda,mwishoni mwa wiki, Rais Kikwete pia alikutana na kufanya mazungumzo na Rais Paul Kagame kuhusu hali ilivyo mashariki mwa DRC.
Aidha, usiku huo huo wa kuamkia jana, Rais Kikwete alikutana na kufanya mazungumzo na Naibu Waziri Mkuu wa Ubelgiji, Mheshimiwa Didier Reynders ambaye pia anahusika na masuala ya nchi za nje, biashara ya nje na masuala ya Umoja wa Ulaya (EU).
Katika mazungumzo Rais Kikwete na Mheshimiwa Reynders walizungumzia hali ya mashariki mwa Congo pamoja na mchakato wa ushirikiano ndani ya Jumuia ya Afrika Mashariki (EAC).
Imetolewa na:
Kurugenzi ya Mawasiliano ya Rais,
Dar es Salaam.
4 Julai, 2012