By Ruva Roy Collins and Christine Jurua – Kampala
She is rough and tough. Very fit as a fiddle, she punches away powerful combinations while breathing fire. “Right , left uppercut step forward” her instructor keeps shouting instructions at her. She sends a heavy punch towards her training partner as we enter the Uganda National Taekwondo Training and fitness Arena in Kisugu-Kibuli. The punch almost sends her partner to the turf as she stumbles to find her feet and balance.
At this point, our entry disrupts proceedings as the focussed and ‘rough’ face of Apolot turns into a beaming wide smile. She was expecting us and immediately runs to welcome us and ushers into the room as she tells us ‘to feel at home’
We had just negotiated our way through a narrow and dusty road in Kisugu- Kibuli, to meet this special person and have an exclusive interview with Uganda’s National female Champion. We reach at the right time as we find them all sweating profusely as they went through their drills and combinations.
Instructor and Veteran Kick boxing Coach Othieno Waryaro from Colosseum Fitness Center – Nairobi kept shouting instructions at them. Telling them to try again, do this and that. Improve on speed, Jabs and combinations. It was oblivious the preparations for this upcoming fights were in high gear.
After finally catching her breath, Patricia Apolot who is preparing to defend her National title against Nasimbwa Jackie on Friday 25th July 2014 in MTN Arena Lugogo told chano8 that she is very ready to rumble;
“I am ready to defend my title and give my fans something to be happy about. I have trained and prepared for this fight for a long time. I am fighting for my Country Uganda and I don’t want to disappoint my people. Apolot said with sweat streaming down her face.
The World Kickboxing Africa Continental Federation sanctioned fights will also see Heavy puncher Alex Masiko take on K-1 European Champion Hungarian Istvan SZÜCS in the same venue in the Lightmiddleweight – 72,30Kg/159 lbs. K-1 (Close contact style) category
Apolot says there will be many Undercard fights on the night and no entertainment from local artists with a clear nonstop fight night organised by Magic of Hunnia Ltd. Who are the promoters of the event.
“Ugandans should come in big numbers to support us. We do not have sponsors in this sport and therefore we rely on our fans. Please come in big numbers on the fight day and we will not disappoint you.” She begged
Apolot says she faces many challenges as a female kickboxer in a male dominated sport. She is usually stigmatised because of her gender and confesses to being sexually harassed by male fans and is constantly being asked out by people she goes to seek for help and sponsorship. She says as a female Kickboxer, people usually don’t take her seriously and call her names.
“Sometimes people ask me whether I am a man or woman and make fun of me. Sometimes fights are cancelled abruptly after serious preparations yet we get very low pay and no allowances compared to other sports. We don’t get any support from the government.” The usually jolly Apolot said in a rather sad tone as she highlights challenges they face in the sport.
However despite all the challenges Apolot also known as ‘The Black Pearl’ says she is able to make a living from the sport as it has exposed her to many other opportunities including modelling and acting. She says she is able to meet many very important people and make friends. She feels there is alot the sport hers offer in future.
WHO IS PATRICIA APOLOT?
The 23 year old National Champion was born to Mr Emmanuel Mukula Aricosi and Susan Winfred Aluko in Ngora in Soroti, Eastern Uganda. She is a first born in a family of five children. She grew up with her Grandparents and later was raised by her step parents Engena Robert and Asekenye Jane after her parents separated.
She went to St Aloysius Primary School and Ngora Integrated Secondary School (Now Teso Integrated) before joining Gary, a Cassava processing Project for training after her senior six in 2008 back home in Soroti.
When she came to Kampala, she started as a footballer at Pro-line Academy in Lugogo in 2009 before joining Boxing where she is still undefeated.
Her Uncles played a big role in bringing her up as a kickboxer. They always made her fight for everything she wanted including food and dolls. They have since been very supportive together with her other family members and friends.
Wandera Simon a friend to professional boxer Kassim Ouma advised her to join kickboxing and when she met Golola Moses at the East Coast gym, he told her to take the sport seriously as he was impressed by her strength and level of energy. The rest as we say is history.
She had her first kickboxing match in 2010 where she lost to a one Brenda but fought a series of matches after that and won all, as she rose in the ranks. When the opportunity to fight for the vacant National Women’s Kickboxing title came, she took it with gusto and beat Jackie Nasimbwa at the beginning of this year. This is the title she is set to defend come Friday 25th July against the same opponent.
Her dream now is to successfully defend her National title and go for international fights and win more titles and medals for Uganda. She also wants to start an academy to train young fighters and start a women’s kickboxing league to unearth more talent that can eventually be recognised in future.
Patricia will not find it an easy ride this time round as Nasimbwa has vowed to knock her out in the third round of this Lightweight – 60 Kg/132 lbs. Re-match. There will be an after party for the fans at Club Rouge after the fights. Entry fee for the fights is 10,000/= and VIPs pay 20,000/= and 30,000/= respectively