The Home of Africa's Champions
Uganda and Africa’s Para-badminton number one seed Sarah Nazziwa is our star of the day. Nazziwa was diagnosed with a life-changing spinal infection during her senior four back in 2010.
After enduring months of anguish, countless medical evaluations and treatment programs, she became wheelchair bound.
Intensive physiotherapy at the Katalemwa Cheshire Home for Rehabilitation Services in Gayaza helped her to adapt to her new reality.
While growing up, her interests were far from sports as Nazziwa was more inclined to music, dance and drama. Many years later, in 2022, a chance encounter with Para-badminton player Elizabeth Rukundo sparked a fire within her, pursuing sports as a form of therapy.
She took up para-badminton training in preparation for the Uganda International Open 2022 at the Lugogo indoor arena.
Nazziwa’s debut was exceptional as she clinched two silver medals, in both the singles and mixed doubles categories.
“This moment was the turning point in my life. Those medals reinforced my conviction that with more training, I could surpass even my own expectations,” Nazziwa said.
Despite her rapid rise, her journey has not been without challenges. Access to standard wheelchairs remains a big problem.
Athletes have to share wheelchairs during competitions and beyond the discomfort, there’s potential transmission of infections among fellow players.
In 2023, Nazziwa participated in the Bahrain Para-badminton International and although she tasted defeat, many important lessons were learnt.
Her redemption arrived at the Africa Para Badminton Championships in the same year where she secured two gold medals in the singles and doubles events.
In July 2023, her accomplishments were recognized as she was voted the best badminton player of the month at the Real Stars Awards in Kampala.
Currently Nazziwa is striving to accumulate the ranking points needed for participation in the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
Her bronze medal finish at the Egypt Para-badminton Championships last week will go a long way in helping her reach her Olympics dream.
“I want to be able to compete at the Olympics and use my disabilities to change the narrative for disabled people,” Nazziwa said in an interview on the Monitor publications website.
This means more!