On an early December morning, Patricia Apolot arrives for training at her coach’s residence in Kololo. It is a gentle, breezy day; not too cold, but not too warm either; perfect for the high intensity strength building workouts she does five days of every week. The air is cool and the sky is light grey in color. There is no music playing, the only sounds being those of her coach, Adam Boumadi, as he calmly speaks words of encouragement and guidance, pushing Patricia and her training partner to move past their limits.
You can almost feel the tension in Patricia’s muscles as she trains. This is hard, hard work, but she pushes on nevertheless, playful and exuberant, always ready for a laugh. When we first met Patricia she struck us as someone who isn’t easily fazed by anything life throws her way. We were right-Patricia Apolot is standing tall in a sport that literally knocks you down, being the reigning Ugandan female Kickboxing champion and holding, at the same time, the World Kickboxing Federation International title. Watching Patricia train, we can’t help but be blown away by this powerful example of a strong African woman.
In 2016, Buqisi-Ruux is committed to inspiring and moving women all across the African continent. We’ve said it once before, but we’ll keep saying it a thousand times more: We don’t just want you to look great ladies, we also want you to be great. In connection to this, expect a lot of amazing stories about amazing women all doing amazing things on our amazing continent. We want to put the spotlight firmly on these incredible African women; we want to dress them in our heels. After successfully defending her World Kickboxing Federation title against Anita Nagy in November, there was no doubt in our minds that our African Woman of the month this December would be none other than the Black Pearl herself, Patricia Apolot.
(And the crowd goes wild.)
The standing ovation is well deserved. Patricia Apolot has made a name for herself as an aggressive and competitive fighter, and not just in kickboxing alone. She holds a black belt in Taekwondo and was on the Uganda National Boxing team. Not surprisingly, her talents also extend beyond the ring, writing and working on films. Patricia has a reputation for dedication and passion, all of which have pushed her to the pinnacle of success in her sport.
The journey towards this success has been a long one. Patricia Apolot grew up in Ngora in the Eastern region of Uganda under the care of her maternal great grandmother. She describes her childhood experiences of bullying as being responsible for the competitive spirit in her nature. Her biggest challenge, however, is in trying to change public perceptions of women in sport. Kickboxing, like many sports in Uganda, is a male dominated sport. It is easier for male athletes to find funding and sponsorship for events. Supporting fitness among girls and creating opportunities for women in all sports is an important step to improving the sports culture in Uganda, Patricia believes.
Patricia is undeterred however by current circumstances. She derives her biggest source of motivation from the relationships she builds. It is telling that when we asked her what her biggest achievement was, she replied with the biggest smile on her face; “Friends. Lots and lots of friends.” For Patricia, collaboration is an important aspect of life, a vital piece in the puzzle that is her success. This is best exemplified in her lack of patience of athletes who don’t listen to their coaches. A vital lesson: Success depends on how much you can teach others and how much you are willing to learn in turn.
On a coldish/warmish day in December, Patricia is training for a fight in January. She is calm and collected. She does not complain and stands toe to toe with her male training partner, taking what many would call a punishment with grace, but also giving one back(always with a smile). We chose Patricia Apolot as our African Woman of the month as a nod to the traits in her character we think are worth being inspired by-strength and passion. We are also completely stocked by the idea of a no holds barred African woman is kicking it large in a sport many consider a reserve for men. Looks like the old adage rings true: What boys can do, Girls can do too.
To a real champion, our African Woman of the Month, Patricia Apolot.
Always Moving Women