Kenya: Christine Ongare, from the ghetto to Tokyo Olympic Games

A mother at 12, raised in Nairobi’s hardscrabble suburbs to survive by her fists, Christine Ongare dreams of becoming the first African woman to win an Olympic medal in boxing.

The 27-year-old Kenyan pugilist will have her chance in Tokyo — her first Games, and a moment she still cannot believe is coming true.

“This one has always been my dream to participate in the Olympics games whereby to me, at least I have reached my goal, but my {main} goal is not yet complete.”

“My goal in the Olympics is to stand in the podium because we have never had any woman representing Kenya, and Africa in the Olympics coming back with a medal” said Christine Ongare, who is in the female boxer – fly weight category.

Over the past 14 years, more than 3,000 women have practiced boxing in Kenya. While most of them do it as a hobby, some have made a living of it, becoming professional boxers. And some have even reached the Olympic Games, like Elizabeth Andiego in 2012 or Christine Ongare who will participate in a few days in the Tokyo Games.

“I remember when I was going to the Olympics in 2012, I gave her the flag henceforth, she held onto the flag and she said, “I will one day go to the Olympics and I’ll make our country proud and bring back the medal.” So I know she’s capable, she’s a hard worker, she goes for what she wants, and I know she’ll make Kenya proud” Elizabeth Andiego, Kenyan female boxer said with confidence.


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