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Makerere Students Embrace Ice Stock, Hope to Win Big in Future :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Makerere Students Embrace Ice Stock, Hope to Win Big in Future

The Uganda Ice Stock inaugural clinic took place at Makerere University, in Kampala between 22nd and 24th October 2021, presided over by Instructors from Kenya led by Tim Ngugi, President of Kenya Ice Stock who took the participants through different sessions to make them acquainted with the game.
Students at Makerere playing ice stock

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A section of Makerere students have adopted a new sport, Ice stock and they are hoping to reach higher levels representing Uganda in international competitions.

The game was rintroduced in Uganda in 2021 by Shiffa Mujjuzi, who is the current President of the Ice stock sport Uganda, but on arrival in the country, and several Makerere students picked interest in the sport and they hope to take it to another step, but it had been dormant for the last 20 years.

The Uganda Ice Stock inaugural clinic took place at Makerere University, in Kampala between 22nd and 24th October 2021, presided over by Instructors from Kenya led by Tim Ngugi, President of Kenya Ice Stock who took the participants through different sessions to make them acquainted with the game. 

 

Speaking to Uganda Radio Network- URN, Aupal Emmanuel, an ice stock player at Makerere University who also acts as the Vice President in charge of Administration for Ice stock in the country said the game was mainly embraced by Makerere students but they are trying hard to spread it to different parts of the country.  

//Cue in: “a delegation from … //

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He added that since then, over 93 participants within Makerere have already enrolled in the sport. “It attracted many students from Makerere and right now there are over 93 participants, some are new and others have spent some time in the sport,” Aupal briefly stated.

  

Like curling, it is played on ice and involves sliding a heavy object (stock) in the direction of a target. While playing, the Competitors hold the stock by the handle which has a rubber below it, and swings it back and forth before releasing it onto the ice. They slide ice stocks over an ice surface, aiming for a target, or to cover the longest distance. Ice stocks have a gliding surface, to which a 30cm stick is connected. 

 

In the target shooting version, two teams of four players compete head-to-head, and the team with the most points after six innings wins the game. A team scores by shooting the closest stock to the 'Daube', to win a round, the team must have the most stocks closest to the pack.  

The sport is mostly played in southern Germany, Austria, and Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol in Italy. In Africa only five other countries play the sport, these being neighbors Kenya, Namibia, Gabon, Tunisia, and Egypt. 

Being a winter sport, it is predominantly to be played on Ice, the players have decided to replace Ice with asphalt or tarmacked-like surfaces to slide the stock due to the kind of weather in Uganda (sub-Saharan), but, Aupal says this is not unique since it is applied in other countries that do not have ice. 

 

//Cue in: “We replaced ice … //

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Shiffa Mujjuzi, the incumbent Chairperson of the Association says their next step is to register it with the National council of sports. To register with the National Council of sports (NCS) the sport is supposed to spread to several parts of the country which Mujjuzi says they have already embarked on it.

 

“The challenge is, to register with the NCS, you need to spread the game to different regions which is a little bit challenging for us but we are hopeful we shall register the sport because we have done at least 70% of the work needed,” Mujuzi said.

 

Mujjuzi further stated that Ice stock comes with the advantage of enhancing Uganda’s opportunities of increasing the medals won in international competitions. She believes being a new sport, will give a chance for Uganda to compete alongside a few countries that have already adopted it. 

 

“African countries mostly competed in the popular games which makes it hard for us to win the Olympic medals, but a game like this which is new doesn’t need a lot of energy, and we have a very high chance of getting medals in the Olympic games,” Mujjuzi told URN.

  

He added: “The game also doesn’t have an age limit, every person can play the game, and the young, and the old can all play, so it has very many chances of helping several people participate in the Olympics games.”  

Although Ice stock was not part of the just concluded 2022 Beijing winter Olympic games, Mujjuzi says the sport has already been confirmed for the 2026 winter Olympics games, Mujjuzi believes this will be a great opportunity for athletes who have embraced the sport.  

Aupal also said they were hoping to field a team to take part in the just concluded 2022 Ice stock sport World Championships for Women and Men, which was held on February 22–27 February 2022 in Ritten, Italy but they failed to make it. 

   Although Uganda never took part in the event, Mujjuzi is hopeful that they will parade a team for some of the coming international events and the team has already set its sights on these events.

“We have the African championship in Gabon this year in October, we are looking for funds to take part in it, and then the youth championship, if we get enough funding we shall take part in all of them.”  

Erick Mwesigwa, another player said he picked interest in the sport because of its uniqueness and he believes he will pursue big dreams through it. 

"It is a unique sport, I just got interested the moment I saw it and I said I have to play it, it does not segregate in the age, any person can play it,” Mwesigwa said.

  

Ice stock comes as a relief for Uganda Universities that will be hoping to take part in the winter games. Previously Uganda and other African Universities have not been participating in the University Winter games due to the nature of the games played there which are not played in Sub Saharan countries.

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