The Observers

Coach Mustafa's Olympic dream: Ugandan street children form gymnastics club

The Kataka Gymnastics Club in Katwe, Uganda is a group of more than 60 street children hoping to become Olympic athletes.
The Kataka Gymnastics Club in Katwe, Uganda is a group of more than 60 street children hoping to become Olympic athletes. © Observers

A vacant lot in the outskirts of Uganda's capital Kampala is now the home of the Kataka Gymnastics Club, a team of children eager to become champion athletes. Their coach, Yiga Mustafa, who grew up in an orphanage himself, has dedicated himself to helping his community's street children master gymnastics. 

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In just two months, the children of the Kataka Gymnastics Club in Katwe, Uganda, have mastered backflips, cartwheels and vaults. It's all thanks to their dedicated coach, who formed the team just as soon as he finished high school in May. But it hasn't all been easy: we spoke to Coach Mustafa about the challenges he is overcoming to form his students into Olympic champions.

There is nowhere to learn from, apart from YouTube and copying some skills so that I can teach the kids. At night, I go on YouTube and download videos. I do some research to learn the floor routines and techniques. We do floor tumbling and vaulting, but acrobatics mostly because the kids like it so much. 

They are determined to learn but we don’t have any equipment to use. We have mostly boys because the ground is so rough and the girls are afraid to get hurt: it’s very hard for them to train. We want to get funding to get some land and build a centre.

If you want to support Coach Mustafa and the Kataka Gymnastics Club, you can reach them on their Facebook page.