Chinese Ambassador at Woodball Showroom

China to support construction of woodball facility

In this exclusive interview with Vision Sport, the Chinese Ambassador committed to support the construction of the first ever standard woodball facility in Uganda as per the excerpts below.
Woodball has been the fastest growing sport in Uganda. And the Chinese Embassy in Uganda has been an integral pillar behind its development since inception over ten years ago.

With five World Cup appearances, and over 4,000 active players competing in it's national, university and corporate leagues, Chinese Ambassador to Uganda H.E. Zheng Zhuqiang can only look back with satisfaction.

President Yoweri Museveni and the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports have also found it irresistible.

At two separate high-profile functions, Museveni and the First Lady have shown incredible skills —attributes that have only motivated Zhuqiang to invest millions into a sport that should change the fortunes of youth in the country.

In this exclusive interview with Vision Sport, the Chinese Ambassador committed to support the construction of the first ever standard woodball facility in Uganda as per the excerpts below.

The Chinese Embassy has been a key partner in the development of woodball in Uganda. Why did you pick Uganda for this game and not somewhere else?
It is a great honour for the Embassy to be a partner of the development of woodball in Uganda.
As you know, China and Uganda are Comprehensive Cooperative Partners. We have broad and profound cooperation in various fields including people-to-people exchanges.
Woodball is a sport that originated from Taiwan province of China, and Uganda is a major country, possibly the most prominent country, that performs magnificently in terms of woodball in the continent. Of course, you would not have failed to notice that even H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and the First Lady are leading the nation in playing this sport, showing the great priority that Uganda puts in the development of woodball. All in all, I don't see any reason why we shouldn't pick Uganda. One must not forget to mention that the Uganda Woodball Federation is a very professional and efficient team, and working with them has been a privilege and pleasure.

Are you impressed with the level of development for the game in Uganda thus far?
Yes, I am very impressed. Since I came here in late 2016, I have taken note that Uganda is a regular winner in international tournaments in woodball, and it is becoming more and more popular in the general public of Uganda, some universities even include it in their clubs.
In May 2019, Uganda successfully hosted the Second Beach Woodball World Cup. Team Uganda was the most striking winner in various categories. Not only am I deeply impressed by the level of development for the game in Uganda, I think the region, the continent and even the world, are all impressed.
How much support have you offered to the Uganda Woodball Federation thus far? What is your contribution?
Ans: In recent years, we have been doing what we can to support the development of woodball sports in Uganda. That includes technical and financial support to Uganda in its hosting the Second Beach Woodball World Cup, machines for the woodball workshop, helping to manufacture relevant equipment, among others. Of course, we have also been supporting them with strong interest and enthusiasm in the sports.

Uganda is also tasked with manufacturing equipment for the whole continent and introducing the game to the different countries. Do you think they have the capacity to do so?
Of course they do. Indeed, it might not be an exaggeration if we say Uganda is the centre of woodball sports in Africa. Uganda is already leading by example to introduce the game to regional countries, and the success of last year's Beach Woodball World Cup will definitely boost Uganda's efforts in this regard.
Given the above, there is no reason why Uganda will not do a good job in manufacturing woodball equipment and introducing the sport to other countries.
What have you done/still doing to ensure they fulfil this?
As I mentioned, we have been providing support to Uganda wherever possible, including support to the Uganda Woodball Federation for purchasing manufacturing machines as they commenced the efforts of making woodball products, and hosting other major woodball events. We will continue these efforts.

Ugandan players have participated in different international tournaments and won various medals. Do you think Uganda can eventually win the Woodball World Cup?
Yes, they can. I am very confident about that.
The Uganda Woodball Federation has plans of setting up a home encompassing a woodball factory, woodball courses and an office building. How can China help in facilitating this over sh3 billion project?
We congratulate the Uganda Woodball Federation for this gorgeous plan, which shows how ambitious they are in the development of woodball sport in Uganda. As always, we will provide support in this regard to the best of our capability.

China has been supporting the development of infrastructure in Uganda and Africa. Can we expect a partnership similar to the one that built Mandela National Stadium and other planned stadia in the country?
Infrastructure development is one of the bottlenecks for Africa, Uganda included. It is also a key priority in the China-Uganda Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership and China-Africa Comprehensive Strategic and Cooperative Partnership.
You are right to point out that China has supported Uganda in erecting and managing the National Stadium, for which several Chinese experts and technicians even sacrificed their lives during the construction and were remembered by the Uganda public year after year.
China will continue to support infrastructure development in Uganda and Africa at large. Both countries regularly and closely stay in touch when it comes to specific project proposals.

Uganda successfully hosted the Beach Woodball World Cup. Do you think the construction of international courses can give Uganda a chance of hosting the World Cup?
Ans: Yes. The construction of international courses, which are the basic infrastructure and important selling point for Woodball World Cup, will definitely boost Uganda's chance for hosting the World Cup. Of course, it will also help boost Ugandan tourism to some extent, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apart from the game of woodball, are there other areas you have supported Ugandans in terms of capacity building? What are those areas?
Thank you for the question, it's very important. As I mentioned in the beginning, China and Uganda are Comprehensive Cooperative Partners. We have a lot of cooperation in capacity building.
Since 2016, over 2000 Ugandans have attended China-aided training courses and seminars in China in the field of agriculture, infrastructure, industrialization, macroeconomic planning, among others.
In the last three years, the Chinese government has sponsored more than 200 Ugandan students to study in China for degrees through the Chinese government scholarships and other scholarship programs, and this year we provided a fresh batch of scholarships.
The China-Aided Industrial Skills Training and Production Centre, situated on a 15-acre plot at Namanve Industrial Park, was commissioned on January 15 this year by H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, which introduces modern manufacturing methods and practices into Uganda for youth skill development. China will continue supporting Uganda in terms of capacity building in the future, for a closer China-Uganda relation and a community with a shared future.


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