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35686-Husnah Kukundakwe photo

Husnah Kukundakwe

Swimming

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
S9, SB8, SM9

Further personal information

Residence
Kampala, UGA
Occupation
Athlete, Student
Languages
English

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She first swam at age three and began lessons two years later at Sir Apollo Kaggwa school in Uganda.
Why this sport?
"At first I started swimming to have fun, just to play in the water. Then I watched my cousin who was swimming at a gala at school. He would swim so fast and leave the others behind. I was like, 'Why can't I do this'. I tried volleyball. I tried netball. But swimming was the only sport I could manage. Then I just started competing."
Club / Team
Dolphins Swim Club: Kampala, UGA
Name of coach
Paul Bampata [club]; Muzafaru Muwanguzi [club, national]
Training Regime
She trains for 13 hours a week.

International debut

Year
2019
Competing for
Uganda

General interest

Hobbies
Watching films, reading. (Athlete, 27 Aug 2021)
Memorable sporting achievement
Competing at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (paralympic.org, 26 Aug 2021)
Most influential person in career
Her mother. (Athlete, 27 Aug 2021)
Hero / Idol
New Zealand Para swimmer Sophie Pascoe, Irish Para swimmer Ellen Keane. (Athlete, 27 Aug 2021)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
Before a race she swings her arms and legs and does a squat jump. (Athlete, 27 Aug 2021)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"My main goal is to inspire people with or without disabilities." (Facebook page, 25 Apr 2022)
Awards and honours
In 2020 she received the Inspirational Athlete Award at the DSTV Aquatics Excellence Awards in Uganda. (nocuganda.org, 30 Mar 2020)
Milestones
At age 14 years and 154 days, she was the youngest athlete to compete in any sport at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo when she competed in the women's SB8 100m breaststroke. (SportsDeskOnline, 17 May 2022)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris, and to win a Paralympic medal. (BBC What's New / Actu Jeunes YouTube channel, 09 Apr 2022; france24.com, 26 Aug 2021)
Impairment
She was born without her right forearm and with a malformation to her left hand. (olympicchannel.com, 20 Nov 2019; newvision.co.ug, 02 Apr 2019)
Other information
INSPIRING CHANGE
She hopes her participation at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo will help change perceptions of people with impairments in Uganda. "Uganda has access to watch the Paralympics on TV, and Africa in general is a land where people with disabilities are outcasts to society. Most parents [in Uganda] who give birth to children with disabilities just abandon them, sometimes they end up on the streets, they become beggars. Maybe if they [parents] watch the Paralympics, when they are watching they will realise that the choice they made is really bad and they should have supported their children to achieve their dreams." (paralympic.org, 26 Aug 2021)

OVERCOMING SHYNESS
She says swimming helped her to become a more positive person. "When I started school, I was very shy. I would wear a sweater for the whole day, even if was hot, just to make sure I could hide my hands. People would look at me differently but when I was at school, people would stare at me. Some people would laugh. One time they laughed and I got so angry. That day I went home and told my mum they were laughing at me, and there was nothing I could do about it because I can't say bad words to them because of school rules. When I started swimming, people started to know me and I began to lose that shyness. I lost the sweater, forgot about it and started moving around the compound happy, not shy. Swimming has made me more confident." (paralympic.org, 17 Jul 2019; paralympic.org, 18 Dec 2020)

TRAINING
She trains with non-disabled swimmers at the Dolphins Swim Club in Kampala, Uganda, which she believes gives her a more competitive mentality. "Competing with able-bodied swimmers is very hard, but also competing with Para swimmers is not that easy. But I'm very happy because I get encouragement by seeing some [Para] swimmers who have a more serious impairment than mine." (NTVUganda YouTube channel, 17 May 2019; Next Media Uganda YouTube channel, 10 Mar 2019)