Joshua Tibatemwa Ekirikubinza, a graduate of The Aga Khan Academy Mombasa, earned a major thrill last week when he led team Uganda as the nation’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 31st summer Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
Wearing a bright red blazer decorated with boldly striped lapels and black trouser, Joshua walked into the Maracanã stadium on Friday night, amid cheers and excitement, full of pride and with a big grin on his face, leading a team of 21 athletes and 18 officials.
Joshua started swimming at the age of six and13 years later, he is set to make his Olympic debut in the 50 metres freestyle heats representing his country on August 11. He is among 10,500 athletes from 207 national teams that will compete in 306 events across 42 sports.
Joshua is ranked the overall fastest male swimmer in Uganda, having set two national records at last year’s World Championships in Kazan, Russia. The 19-year-old achieved a personal best of 25.54 seconds in the 50 metres freestyle and a flat 33 seconds in the 50 metres breaststroke. This earned him a place in the country’s Olympic swim team as announced by the Ugandan Swimming Federation.
“It has been a silent goal of mine to get to the Olympics. Every swimmer harbours it. I would love to have the opportunity to be among the world’s best athletes, doing what they’ve been training to do for many years,” said Joshua in a previous interview with the Grinnell College (Iowa, USA) news team, where he is currently a first year student-athlete.
Joshua joined the Academy in August 2013 from Aga Khan High School in Kampala, already representing Uganda in international swimming competitions. He graduated from the Academy with a prestigious International Baccalaureate Diploma, and went on to win a place at Grinnell, as his university of choice.
The Aga Khan Academy aims to identify, nurture and retain students with exceptional academic ability, who display leadership potential and who are committed to bringing positive change to their communities.
“What struck us about Joshua was that he had been a primary class counsellor /prefect and was also the high school assistant general secretary for the student council in his former schools” ,” said Mr. Paul Davis, Dean of Admissions at The Aga Khan Academy Mombasa.
The Aga Khan Academy Mombasa provides education to talented students from all sections of society with the aim of generating future leaders for the region.