Prisons take no prisoners as Ankunda snaps gold

It was a day of firsts! First, Mbale hosted the prestigious Coral Coatings-sponsored national woodball open for the first time at the golf club while the newly upgraded city elected their first executive committee after forming a club this month.

On the fairways, cut-throat competition among the 42 participating teams could be felt even under the serene surroundings.

It was an unlikely winner, Derrick Ankunda, an engineering student of Ndejje University, who emerged the men’s champion to win his first individual silverware since joining woodball while Christine Birungi of Ndejje University defied the odds to defend the women’s title.

Let’s call this Prisons’ take no prisoners tour of 2022.

Bullish, experienced and unrelenting, Prisons Woodball Club, that were formed this year under Samson Rugongeza, won their championship this season.

Starting with a bronze in the Kyambogo Open, the Uganda Prisons Service team wore gold during the well-attended Ndejje Open and were silver medalists at the Ndejje corporate championship.

In woodball, the top four score for the team. Although Rugongeza finished fourth with 142 strokes, a combined effort from Isaac Ariho (144), Davis Wabusa (151) and Abednego Okello (103) was enough to secure gold.

“We are not the best group of players. We do not have the best players. But we are a team. We want to win and always give it our all,” Rugongeza said.

The combination of Lillian Zawedde, Sophie Namuddu, Sandra Nabaggala and Joan Najjuma combined 433 strokes to win the overall women’s title to edge Ndejje University and Eminents, who took the other podium places.

The spectacular plays by the Ndejje University student had opponents and teammates alike shaking their heads after Ankunda was announced the men’s champion in a field that had Thomas Kedi (woodballer of the year) and Israel Muwanguzi. He attributes the triumph to a bit of luck.

“Up to now I even feel scared [sic] being my first medal to win. God was on my side. I am really happy. It is my first big tournament to play. I work hard to improve on my game standards. I now want to win more,” Ankunda said.

In the absence of defending champion Joyce Nalubega, 24-year-old Christine Birungi rose to the top amid strong offense from Nile Special woodballer of the year Joan Mukoova.

Birungi, who is arguably the most on-form player for Ndejje University was happy with the neat greens of the Mbale Golf Course.

“I came with a strategy to win here. The course is very good. Such courses are good for me because they allow a good drive,” Birungi said.

Coral Coatings Woodball Open

Edward Katumba (BBA) – 25

Rihan Babu (Nalugala) – 26

Jonathan Kiyimba (N. Road) – 27

Juliet Mbasige (BBA) – 26

Sylivia Nakate (BBA) – 28

Nusurah Namwenge (N. Road) – 30

Timothy Nokorach (Olan) – 47

Godfrey Kawooya (Luzira) – 48

Emmanuel Atta (Olan) – 50

Sarah Nakaweesi (Luzira SS) – 49

Brenda Anyimo (Luzira SS) – 49

Rebecca Ajambo (Mpoma) – 50

Derrick Ankunda (Ndejje) 135

Israel Muwanguzi (Eminents) – 136

Robert Kikulwe (Makerere) 140

Christine Birungi (Ndejje) – 156

Lilian Zawedde (NCWC) – 157

Mary Athieno (Stroke) – 160

Noeline Babirye (Kisubi) – 110

Phionah Namata (NCWC) – 116

Josephine Nantongo (BoU) – 121

Michael Musaazi (Kisubi) – 97

Vincent Kaganda (Zoe) – 104

Michael Makoha (NCWC) – 104

504 – Participants with 304 men and 200 women