Tofiri Kibuuka

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Tofiri Kibuuka
Medal record
Paralympic athletics
Competitor for  Norway
Paralympic Games
Silver 1984 Stoke Mandeville / New York 800m
Silver 1984 Stoke Mandeville / New York 1,500m
Silver 1984 Stoke Mandeville / New York 5,000m
Silver 1988 Seoul 5,000m
Silver 1992 Barcelona Marathon
Bronze 1988 Seoul 1,500m

Tofiri Kibuuka is a Norwegian athlete. Ugandan by birth, he competed for Uganda before obtaining Norwegian citizenship. He has participated in both the Winter Paralympic Games, in cross-country skiing (for Uganda) and in the Summer Paralympic Games, in mid- and long distance running (for Norway). Active from 1976 to 2000, he won five Paralympic silver medals, and one bronze.

Biography[edit]

He holds the distinction of being the first African to have competed at the Winter Paralympics, and more generally the only athlete from a tropical nation to have done so.[1] He is also one of only two Africans to have competed at the Winter Games, the other being Bruce Warner of South Africa (since 1998).[2]

Prior to the Paralympics[edit]

Kibuuka studied at the Outward Bound School in Kenya. [3]

In 1968, he was one of the first blind people to ascend successfully to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, earning media attention as well as praise from the Ugandan Minister of Labour. Due to this event, he was invited to Norway by an “organisation promoting sports for the disabled”. He arrived in Norway in 1972, a year after Idi Amin’s rise to power in Uganda. Due to the situation in his country of origin, he was to remain in Norway permanently, but nonetheless competed for Uganda in the 1970s. [4]

Winter Paralympics[edit]

Kibuuka made his Paralympic Games début representing Uganda at the inaugural Winter Paralympics in 1976 in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. He was his country's sole representative, and, as Uganda was the only African country to compete, he was the first African to take part in the Winter Paralympic Games - eight years before Lamine Guèye of Senegal became the first African to compete at the Winter Olympics.[5] [6]

At the 1976 Games, he competed in two events.

He competed again in 1980, where he was once more the only African competitor.[8] [9] He entered two events:

He did not compete again in the Winter Paralympics. Having obtained Norwegian citizenship, he began to compete for Norway at the Summer Paralympics.

Summer Paralympics[edit]

Despite having first moved to Norway due to his potential as a Winter Paralympian, and despite his solid performance for Uganda at the Winter Paralympics, it was as a runner that Kibuuka obtained all his Paralympic medals.

At the 1984 Summer Paralympics in Stoke Mandeville and New York, representing Norway, he entered three events:

In the 1988 Games, he entered only the 1,500 and 5,000m events, winning bronze in the former (in 4:15.94, behind Matthews for gold and fellow Norwegian Terje Loevaas for silver), and silver in the latter (in 16:22.14, once more behind Matthews).[12]

In 1992, he was Norway’s flagbearer during the Games’ opening ceremony. [13] He entered the same events as in 1988, but finished fifth in the 1,500m (4:25.48) and fourth in the 5,000m (16:24.02). While Matthews remained Paralympic champion, and Loevaas remained on the podium with bronze, Portugal’s Paulo de Almeida Coelho finished second to edge Kibuuka off the podium. However, Kibuuka did also enter the marathon for the first time, finishing in 2:51:34 to take silver, behind Italy’s Carlo Durante. [14]

From then on, he would compete only in long distance running. In 1996, he entered the 10,000m (T10 category) as well as the marathon (T10). He finished fourth in the former, in 36:10.58, and sixth in the latter, in 3:05:06. For his final appearance at the Paralympics, in 2000, he entered only the marathon (T11), but injured himself during the race and failed to finish. [15] [16]

See also[edit]

  • Lamine Guèye (skier), first Black African to compete at the Winter Olympic Games, in 1984. (South Africa, under apartheid, had been represented by an all-white team in 1960.)
  • John Akii-Bua, famous Ugandan Olympic athlete during the time of Idi Amin

References[edit]

  1. ^ Database of the International Paralympic Committee. (Searching the list of participating NPCs per edition of the Games reveals that no tropical nation other than Uganda has ever competed.)
  2. ^ South Africa at the Paralympics, International Paralympic Committee
  3. ^ “Uganda's Kibuuka Flies Norway's Flag”, Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, April 30, 2004
  4. ^ “Uganda's Kibuuka Flies Norway's Flag”, Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, April 30, 2004
  5. ^ Uganda at the 1976 Winter Paralympics, International Paralympic Committee
  6. ^ List of NPCs at the 1976 Winter Paralympics, International Paralympic Committee
  7. ^ Uganda at the 1976 Winter Paralympics, International Paralympic Committee
  8. ^ Tofiri Kibuuka's profile on paralympic.org
  9. ^ List of NPCs at the 1980 Winter Paralympics, International Paralympic Committee
  10. ^ Tofiri Kibuuka's profile on paralympic.org
  11. ^ Tofiri Kibuuka's profile on paralympic.org
  12. ^ Tofiri Kibuuka's profile on paralympic.org
  13. ^ “Uganda's Kibuuka Flies Norway's Flag”, Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, April 30, 2004
  14. ^ Tofiri Kibuuka's profile on paralympic.org
  15. ^ Tofiri Kibuuka's profile on paralympic.org
  16. ^ “Uganda's Kibuuka Flies Norway's Flag”, Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, April 30, 2004