Special report: 2008 Olympic Games
KAMPALA, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Uganda's top seed Edwin Ekiring will be the first badminton player to represent the nation in the quadrennial Olympics as he has been given a wild card to the Beijing Games due in August.
Ekiring, also Africa's second seed, didn't amass enough points but earned the right to take part in the prestigious Olympics Games later this year after his impressive performances on the international circuit got a nod from the world governing body's officials.
The International Badminton Federation, on the request of the Olympic Solidarity, gave Ekiring and Zambian Elly Mambwe, who is seed three in Africa, the two tripartite invitation slots as they announced the final list on Wednesday.
"We are pleased that our efforts have been answered with Ekiring 's performance. His progress has been successful. We thank all those who have played part in making him achieve this, most especially the Olympic Solidarity," said Uganda Olympic Committee president Francis Nyangweso, quoted by New Vision on Thursday.
Nyangweso appealed to athletics, the only association that still has a chance to qualify more athletes for the Beijing Olympics, to do so before the deadline.
Ekiring's coach, Simon Mugabi, was also excited about the final list, saying, "It is great he has made it. It is what all of us have been praying for."
Ekiring brings to four, the disciplines that Uganda will participate at the Games. Swimming got a wild card for Aya Nakitanda and Gilbert Kaburu, while boxer Ronald Serugo qualified from Namibia.
Athletics already has Alex Malinga (marathon), Boniface Kiprop (10,000m), Moses Kipsiro and Geoffrey Kusuro (5,000m), Benjamin Kiplagat (3,000mSC) and Abraham Chepkirwok (800m) qualified.