After months of desparately trying to raise funds and attend the Olympiad, players on the Ugandan side are without visas to travel. Only two players have been able to secure a visa, but the team forfeited for failing to field 50% of the team. They have missed the first three rounds and are seeking help with the matter. Here is an appeal from Wanyama Harold written to ChessBase:
Dear ChessBase, I am Wanyama Harold, a Ugandan chess national player supposed to represent Uganda at the Olympiad. I once wrote an article for ChessBase about our trip to Germany. Well, this time we are stuck in Uganda as we cannot get our visas. This is because the organisers of the Olympiad have failed to send the Germany Embassy in Uganda a letter inviting us. I am told the officials are not responding as quickly as possible, and time is running out, as we have missed three games as I write this. I am appealing to you to help us to get the attention of the officials to work as quickly as possible, as you carry some weight in the chess circles.
This problem has persisted for African nations and has also affected Nigeria and Ethiopia. These cases were reported here. This entire visa episode has been a complete disaster and does not reflect well on Germany, FIDE and chess. It is a disgrace that in the season of the Olympiad, African nations are still requesting simple invitations.
Mr. Harold had penned a beautiful photo essay for ChessBase about chess in Uganda which included the excitement of the Olympiad trials. Ironically, the Ugandan team made a trip to Forcheim, Germany and met with the mayor in a formal event! Was all this for naught??
Ugandan chess delegation on a 2005 trip to Forcheim, Germany.
Photo by Wanyama Harold.