September 24, 2021

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Hasna, Uganda Paralympics at age 14, against discrimination and underfunding – Observer

14 years old good kokundakwe Fulfill a dream: to be a Paralympic athlete. And not just any athlete, as it is First swimmer in Uganda Competing in the Paralympic Games since Sydney 2000. Not only has there been a shortage of upper limbs to overcome, but also discrimination and the difficulties of parenting or even finding a place to train.

girl I started swimming just ‘to have fun and play in the water’, when he saw his cousin swimming “quickly” at a school event, he thought: “Why can’t I do it? I tried volleyball and netball, but swimming was the only sport I could stay in, so I started competing.”

But the competition was not easy for Hassan, nor training and preparing for it because training with non-Paralympic athletes is “a big and hard challenge”, which is exactly what happens to him in Uganda, where he finds it difficult to “keep up with the pace”.

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“They make me swim faster. I usually swim with people twice my age and more experienced. I am happy to gain experience, which I also gained in international competitions, ”as quoted by the Paralympic Games website, he also said that he is abroad. ‘Requires a lot of funding’, and it’s a ‘battle’ For your mother, who is seeking the same support.

Lately good people have helped us and the government has made an effort in our uniform and our presence here. but usually my father And for them it is difficult to find money. Even for training and swimming pools, because access to a swimming pool is good 25 meters in Uganda is very expensiveBecause it is only found in good hotels. I’ve been at this little training camp in preparation for the Paralympic Games for about two months and the government paid for the hotel and that was great,” said the athlete, who spends 13 hours training a day.

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In addition to the monetary effort, the Discrimination She was also part of the sports career of the young woman, who remembers that this happened “at one of the competitions, when she was six years old.” “listen to me, who was supposed to feel integrated. When I got to the second race, the teacher replaced me with another girl because he felt like I couldn’t handle the stress. She just told me to go out and let her swim. This made me feel sad and I stopped swimming for a while. I tried other sports. I love football, but I realized that football is not for me, because I always wanted to swim and when I started to feel more confident, I started to You feel better, because in swimming there are not many clothes. In football I tried to hide my hands, until I realized it didn’t make sense. I need to show people that I don’t care, whether they accept me or not.”

Therefore, at the age of fourteen, it is easy to identify the best and good moments of his career: “Participation in these Paralympics, because they began to call me Paralympic athlete And I wasn’t happy with it, but when I competed, I felt good. I think I deserve the ‘title’ now, he said confidently, because my career has begun and I can’t wait to see how far the journey will take me.

By saying that the best moment of Tokyo 2020 was a “competition”, despite being “very tense” and close to her “idols”, Kukundakwe aims to “inspire other athletes in Uganda” to follow in his footsteps. And speaking of steps, she had already put it down, because she couldn’t wait for Paris and even “taught French at school.” “I will be 17 years old and I just want to go back to the Paralympics and reach the final,” he stressed.

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