Pregnant at 12: Kenyan Boxer One Fight From Olympic Glory [VIDEO]

  • Northern Ireland's Carly McNaul (L) and Kenya's Christine Ongare fight
    Northern Ireland's Carly McNaul (L) and Kenya's Christine Ongare fight during their women's 51kg semi-final boxing match during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Oxenford Studios venue on the Gold Coast on April 13, 2018.
    Daily Nation
  • Kenyan female boxer, Christine Ongare, who got pregnant at 12 years is one fight away from Olympic glory. She is set to face Ugandan Catherine Nanziri in the ring on Friday, February 28, to book a place in Tokyo Olympics.

    Ongare had earlier on lost to Moroccan Rajab Cheddar in the flyweight semifinal on Wednesday evening in Dakar, but she is determined to make it count come Friday. She believes she is well prepared and ready to face her Ugandan counterpart in what is an Olympic qualification fight.

    She shared her emotional story to the Olympic Channel at the qualification event in Senegal.

    Boxer Christine Ongare
    Boxer Christine Ongare (centre) displays the bronze medal she won in the flyweight category at the Gold Coast Commonwealth games upon arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on April 17, 2018.
    The Standard

    “I am really hoping to make it to Tokyo. It would be a very good opportunity for me,” she stated in an emotional interview on Wednesday, February 26.

    In the interview, she shared her journey to the boxing world and how her early pregnancy forced her to drop out of school. 

    “I got pregnant at 12 and I have had a very tough upbringing. A single mother raised me and I will forever be indebted to her – she brought up my kid like her own,” added Ongare. 

    "I have met good coaches who have advised and helped me build myself, I have learnt a lot from them. It would be a very good opportunity for me. The money I get will change my life,” she explained. 

     The Commonwealth Games bronze medallist had tried football and acrobatics before finally settling in boxing. Ongare insists that she is boxing for the future of her child. 

    The fighter also shared the plight of many other girls in Nairobi's Eastlands, stating that there are young ladies who look up to her but cannot pursue boxing or any other sport because they are already mothers at a young age, just like she was.

    "Due to desperation, being raised by single parents and drug addiction, many young girls in Eastlands cannot join the sport. They are weighed down by the struggle to meet even the most basic needs like food for their kids and it is not easy,” she said. 

    The boxer is the first Kenyan woman to win a Commonwealth Games medal in boxing. She claimed a bronze medal  in the flyweight category in Gold Coast in 2018.

    In the men's category, Nick Okoth became the first Kenyan boxer to qualify for the 2020 Olympics after edging Ugandan Isaac Masembe on Wednesday at the ongoing Africa qualifiers in Dakar.