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Catherine Nanziri – Female Boxer Persevering Amidst Public Dissent

Catherine Nanziri represented Uganda at the Olympic Qualifiers held in Dakar, Senegal this year where she finished fourth in the Women’s flyweight.

She harbors big dreams, including owning a gym to train young girls, but she has faced a lot of rejections because of the public perception on what gender should join boxing.

Nanziri is the second born of five from Vincent Lukyamuzi and Dorothy Nakitende.

Catherine Nanziri raising Uganda’s flag at the Olympics Qualifiers in Dakar, Senegal

Her challenges started as early as her primary six when her parents separated.

“Before they separated we first lived at Kabowa then we shifted at Salama,” Nanziri reflects.

“I stopped at O’level after my UNEB Exams at Aggrey Memorial School in 2016,” Nanziri, who sat PLE at Nakasero, adds.

She started boxing in 2015 while at school – Boxing was one of the Sports Disciplines at Aggrey Memorial and she could train after classes.

She was in form three then, and she was one of the two girls in the Boxing Club.

Nanziri strongly remembers: “Other students looked at me as a failure that I won’t succeed in boxing even though I train hard and they said no one will love to marry because am a boxer.”

“And my Dad too didn’t want me to join boxing because of marriage issues.”

Catherine Nanziri working out

Despite strong courage from coach Muhammed Ssekanjako, Nanziri trained for only a month then stopped “because I had to focus on my studies.”

When she finished her Form Four, “I had to start working and I could not balance both.”

She rekindled her Boxing dream in 2018 and had her first ever competitive match at the National Intermediates held at Katwe where she was a silver medallist.

In 2019, she scooped another Silver medal once again at the National Open that were held at MTN Indoor Arena in Lugogo.

Later that year in December, she triumphed at the Olympic Trials which meant that she had to represent her Country at the Olympic Qualifiers in 2020 in Senegal, and she came fourth, narrowly missing out on the spot to the Tokyo Olympics.

“I have faced many other challenges like accessing the training grounds and all the expenses that come with it, but its Confidence, Courage and Love for the game that has kept me going,” Nanziri adds.

“Right now, I am living my dream but I want to achieve more like becoming the World Champion.

“I also want to start a Gym to train young girls for their future. The advise I would like to share with the girls who want to join Boxing and any other sport is that this industry isn’t for only boys alone but we girls can participate and have a bright future in it. Always follow your dreams and heart, be authentic always.”

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