England Head Coach Paul Hildreth and V2 World Champion Tom Hildreth have just returned from a successful trip to Uganda. Tom and Paul went to support the efforts of the VX Uganda team in their efforts to promote the sport in Africa.
Arriving at 0300 at Entebbe Airport Tom and Paul were greeted by Hasindihe James of VX Uganda and Bakaze Robert of VX Africa with Uganda Broadcasting Corporation filming the arrival for the evening news.
After catching up on a little sleep work started Tuesday afternoon with a masterclass as Ugandan players were brought up to speed on new techniques and tactics. From then on the trip was a whirl of masterclasses and coaching sessions and meetings. Added to this was a trip to Bethany High School, attended by the press and Urban TV, where students were introduced to the sport by Tom and the local hero, V2 African Nations Champion Malingha Timothy. A report of this visit was shown on Urban TV on Wednesday evening (http://youtu.be/JdWOT0apoH0).
With positive interest being shown by the National Council for Sport and potential sponsors including Brussels Airlines, the trip was exceeding all expectations. Thursday saw a third TV report as Star TV broadcast a report of the masterclasses.
Friday saw a long-awaited match between the African Nations Champion and the World Champion. The match started crisply and Tom quickly took control as Timothy was clearly affected by nerves. At half-time Tom was leading 44-31 but Timothy gathered himself and took the match to Tom in the second half, not letting Tom play his normal game. It wasn’t enough, however, and Tom took the match 94-77. After the match Tom said it was probably one of the hardest matches he had experienced.
Friday evening Tom and Paul were live in the Urban TV studio and then went from there direct to the airport for the long flight home.
Paul said: “The trip exceeded all expectations. Massive well done to Robert and James for the groundwork they did beforehand, however the hard work starts now. A lot of doors are open and and we have lots to do to capitalise on this. These guys have achieved a lot in 18 months and we now have the opportunity really grow the sport in Africa. I am very impressed with how the players have come on since the last time we saw them. Uganda is falling in love with VX and you can see how important they think it is and what an impact it has from the fact that they showed it on TV every single night we were here. If this trip has told us one thing it is that we need to come back very soon. I’m also looking very much to bringing England players over here.”