Catherine Nanziri beat odds to become a boxer, beat local and continental opponents, but missed a direct ticket to the 2020 Olympics. But as fate would have it, she made it to the Tokyo Olympics.
And now as she writes new chapter in the history books as the first ever Ugandan female to box at the Olympics, this morning, Nanziri also carries the burden of claiming Uganda's first win at the Olympics since in 17 years. Sam Rukundo was the last to do so before losing a quarterfinal bout at Athens 2004.
Nanziri takes on Japan's Tsukimi Namik in the first preliminary round of the women's flyweight division.
Home away from home
Nanziri could, however, draw inspiration from the fact that her only victory at the African Olympic Qualifiers in 2020 in Dakar came against Senegal's Khadidja Timera, loved by her home crowd and lauded among the ladies to watch.
This is the third Olympic edition to entertain female boxers. The first time-London 2012-Ugandan boxing was at the peak of administrative wrangles and no Ugandan boxer featured. Only two men represented Uganda at Rio 2016 but the 2020 edition, despite being delayed by the coronavirus disruptions, has come with luck to the Lady Bombers.
Burden of a nation
At the African Olympic Qualifiers, in Dakar, Senegal, in February 2020, Nanziri, like her male compatriot David Ssemuju, lost box-offs and missed the tickets to the Olympics.
The pair would later qualify through the ranking system in February 2021, after the World Olympics Qualifiers were cancelled due to the covid-19 disruptions in Europe.
And despite lacking the ever-hyped experience and exposure, Nanziri also partly carries the burden of the expectation of being Uganda's first female Olympic medalist.
Middleweight Ssemuju, a silver medalist at the 2019 African Games in Rabat, Morocco, takes on renews rivalry with Algeria"s Younes Nemouchi tomorrow.
Date of Birth: Sep 13, 1999
Olympics Appearance: 1st
Event: Women's Fly (48-51kg)
Date: July 25 (Last 32)
Major Event: 2020 Africa Olympic Qualifiers
DAY THREE SCHEDULE - TODAY
4am: Japan vs. Mongolia
4:40am: Romania vs. Italy
4pm: Netherlands vs. China
5am: Women's flyweight last 32
11am: Individual dressage
1:50pm: Women's Individual foil
12:08pm: Women's 52kg
6:25am: Men's Street final
2:30pm: Women's 57kg
9:50am: Men's 61kgEvent Training