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29 June 2023 | Cycling

Fort Portal City was abuzz with excitement as the MTN Tooro Kingdom Masaza Bicycle Races took centre stage, leaving city dwellers yearning for more thrilling sporting events.

The races not only showcased the talents of local riders but also ignited a call to youth to embrace constructive activities and make the most of their free time through sports.

The event brought the bustling city to a standstill, with over 1000 enthusiastic spectators flooding the streets to cheer on their favourite riders.

A total of 98 riders were flagged off from Mogas- Kitumba, embarking on a challenging route that led them along the Fort Portal – Kampala highway, through Njara, police barracks, Mpanga Market, City Center, and then onwards to Bundibugyo Road, Kisenyi, Kicwamba Kihondo Market, before finally returning to Fuelex.

Among the 98 riders, 68 opted for ordinary bicycles, while 30 rode sleek sports bikes, showcasing their diverse skills and determination.

The winners in the ordinary bicycle category included Ayebale Stephen, Mugisa Adolf, Mugisa Abdulatif, Akora Vincent, and Isingoma Robert. In the sports bicycle category, the victors were Seemu David, Asiimwe Peter, Kaijuka Amon, Tumusiime Wilbert, and Tusiime Simon.

These talented riders expressed their gratitude to Tooro Kingdom for organizing the Masaza Races and to MTN for sponsoring the growth of their talents.

Ayebare Stephen, a boda rider from Gweri in Fort Portal city, emerged as the winner among ordinary bicycle racers. Reflecting on the competition, Ayebare noted, "This year's races have been more competitive compared to the previous ones, which calls for more training."

He credited the motivation provided by MTN's support, highlighting how their involvement has inspired a significant increase in participation.

Ayebare, who earned approximately 3 million Ugandan shillings in last year's races, disclosed his intention to save the money from MTN along with his earnings to purchase his own motorcycle.

Meanwhile, Seemu David, the victorious sports bike rider, attributed his success to the rigorous training provided by their sports team, which had received support from the Kingdom.

Expressing gratitude, Seemu remarked, "We are glad that we are actually able to earn from our talents. I appeal to the youth out there to utilize their free time for pay, for instance, they could join any training team that will help them realize their sports talents instead of wasting time on things that are not constructive."

The only female participant, Rose Mary Kabahenda, shared her passion for cycling, which she developed during her time in Kenya.

While she did not secure a top-five position among the ordinary bikers, Kabahenda received public sympathy, with donations amounting to approximately 150,000 Ugandan shillings. She encouraged
other women to consider cycling for physical fitness and enjoyment.

Hon. Micheal Wandera, the Tooro Kingdom Minister of Sports, expressed gratitude to the population of Fort Portal city for their overwhelming support and attendance.

Their enthusiastic presence contributed to the success of the event and highlighted the city strong connection to the Kingdom.

The thrilling bicycle races in Fort Portal City not only provided a captivating spectacle but also left a lasting impact on the participants and spectators alike.

As the city yearns for more adrenaline-pumping sporting events, the call for youth to embrace constructive activities and explore their talents through sports becomes even more significant.

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