Badminton’s Nakiyemba chasing Olympic dream

By Makhtum Muziransa

KAMPALA. Badminton player Aisha Nakiyemba has an ambitious dream to make it to the Tokyo2020 Olympics.
However, the 25 year old and others who might harbour these intentions must brave a long and taxing qualification process that stretches from April 2019 to April 2020.
“But before I even think of that period, I must be at least in the top 100 to stand a chance of playing qualifiers,” Nakiyemba, who is currently ranked 138 in the world in women’s singles, told Daily Monitor.
Going by her past records, this is an achievable dream. In February, she was 99th but due to financial constraints, Nakiyemba missed Internationals in Ivory Coast and Cameroon in June. With badminton, the more Internationals one plays, the higher their chances of improving their rankings.
Nakiyemba’s competitive career only started in 2011, two years after she started playing the game as a senior three student at Mariam High School.

But she has been to the 2018 Commonwealth Games, 2015 All Africa Games and was on the reserve list for the World Championships early in the year.
Nakiymeba now trains and works as a facilitator at Kampala Club. However, without much competition in the women’s category to raise her game, Nakiyemba trains with male gem Brian Kasirye. She must, however, wait for him to finish school at Kakungulu Memorial every day at 5pm before the sessions can commence.
“I need like eight hours of training but I can only manage a few in the gym then maybe two on court when the boys are away from school. At 7.30pm, they have to be back in class,” revealed the player who spent her September in Malaysia honing her skills.
Nakiyemba is also a trader in Bidco products and has always depended on her savings and financial support from well wishers to travel.
“At times I also get credit tickets from tours and travel companies then pay back later. Then at some tournaments, I depend on my friends for accommodation and other logistics,” Nakiyemba shared.
She is now planning to make a recovery at the October 25-28 Egypt International before embarking on more tournaments in Botswana, Zambia and South Africa later in the year.
“Egypt is still in balance because I have no money yet but if I play 10 tournaments next year, I am sure I will go to Tokyo.” That qualification journey, she estimates will require at least Shs25m.
“I need any help I can get. The higher I go or more tournaments I play, the better I can become,” the Business Administration Masters’ student at Ndejje University, says.

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