Kampala, Uganda | AGNES E NANTABA | Kick boxing is often associated with brute force; which makes many assume that women – being softer and humble – cannot get involved or even excel in it. But Patricia Apolot, the Ugandan female kick boxer and queen of the martial arts, has for close to a decade proven them wrong.
“Kick boxing is something I do out of passion, so it is not something that I am about to give up unless otherwise,” says Apolot.
She says she has lately concentrated more on continental and intercontinental fights because they are well funded compared to locally organised fights.
At 27 years, Apolot is the reigning Ugandan female kick boxing champion, a title she has held for three consecutive years. She also holds the World Kick Boxing Federation International title that she won after defeating Ivana Mirkov of Serbia in Hungary. Apolot has won several other home, continental, and intercontinental fights which makes her the holder of the largest number of belts and gold medals in the sport in Uganda.
Hailing from Ngora district, Apolot started kick boxing at amateur level in 2009 after traversing other games like football, athletics and taekwondo. Her passion was energised in 2012 upon invitation by Uganda Kick Boxing Federation to participate as a curtain-raiser for the Moses Golola Versus Andras Nagi (RIP) game. Although it was a 3:1 loss to her, she vowed to take lessons and take on a professional coach to better her tactics at the game.
She says, “I didn’t have a coach by then so it was basically training at the boxing gym but also the person I fought was a professional”.
The start is not always a smooth journey because since then, Apolot records over 11 fights without financial gains all of which took place in Uganda but zeal pushed her on. She began making money when she started competing in continental and intercontinental fights. Eventually in 2013, Apolot turned professional.
She is the first born in a family of five and the only child of her parents, Emmanuel Arikosi Mukula and Awujo Josephine. She went to St Aloysius Demonstration School in Ngora district and Teso Integrated for secondary school. Even when her dream was to go higher academically, her parents’ finances could not stretch further. She grabbed an opportunity to study French at Diploma level. Prior to kick boxing, Apolot traded in baking and cookery.
Apolot’s dream is to build a gym of her own and start training young people who aspire to be professional kick boxers.
Patricia Apolot’s Liteside
Any three things that we don’t know about you?
I am a believer and I really love God with all I am. I also love people. I really hate politics not because of our leaders but because it is something that we overrate. I believe that many times, we tend to put the blame on our leaders yet we may be the cause and therefore a solution of the problems. So I choose to live a humble life.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I was raised by grandparents who taught me that happiness is not found in riches or wealth but in people. It gave me a reason to believe in humanity. So it makes me happy to see that I can share the little God has given me with the world.
What is your greatest fear?
I am a fearless person.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I complain a lot; especially in training not because the coach pushes me a lot but because I feel I should do a lot more.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Gossiping and disbelief in each other has really broken many families and establishments.
Which living person do you most admire?
My grandmother Achola Philomela; she taught me to love and embrace life, love and not hate characters that have really worked for me in life.
What is your greatest extravagance?
My family; for everything I own, my family has a share so every time I earn, my family still takes over 90 percent because it is where I derive joy and happiness.
What is the greatest thing you have ever done?
I still ride a scooter but I believe that being able to keep my siblings in school despite my meager earnings is the greatest. And in line with my profession as a female kick boxer, I cannot underrate the recognition that comes with it.
What is your current state of mind?
I am happy.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
The tendency to focus all our energies on politics. More and more young people are taking on politics and yet we can focus more energy on projects to make our country better and more habitable for the future generation.
What does being powerful mean to you?
It is only those who sacrifice for the sake of others that are powerful. It takes a lot for a girl of my age to sacrifice almost all she has for the sake of her siblings because with the titles I hold, I would decide to waste the money on other unnecessary things or keep up appearances.
On what occasion do you lie?
Sometimes I tell lies to cover up something but I try to makeup later.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
When I was younger, I used to hate myself because I am a true definition of my father physically but with time, I learnt to appreciate myself. While most people go to the gym to have muscles like me or even have a flat belly, I don’t; so no more complaints.
Which living person do you most despise?
I despise lazy people and those who always forge a reason to avoid working.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
God fearing and kind hearted.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
God fearing and hard working.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
I love humanity.
When and where were you happiest?
Every time I have won professional kick boxing fights.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Being ranked among the top 50 sports personalities in Uganda and winning the country’s kick boxer of the year, a title that I have held for the last three consecutive years.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
I don’t mind making a second appearance in the same shape.
Where would you most like to live?
Uganda is my dream country; I easily fit in even when I may not be welcomed. It doesn’t matter where and how I am living, home is best.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
I don’t believe that someone should die of hunger because many people trash food and other eatables. We should rather learn to save food and share it with others who are not able to get hold of it.
What is your favorite occupation?
Praying is a job that may not come with financial benefits directly but it sets free my heart and allows me embrace new things. I love kick boxing as a profession but it doesn’t interest me more than praying.
What do you most value in your friends?
Character, communication, and respect for self and others.
Who are your favourite writers?
All my favorite writers are in the bible. I prefer Peter because everything he did was always out of lessons from betrayal. I like Paul because what he taught was always out of truth, Mathew always reminds us of what a true friend would be and Moses teaches us that whenever you pick up on a journey, never abandon it. They are some of my best writers from whom I take life’s lessons.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
I can only relate well with those I have lived to witness so that has to be my grandfather. He was my icon who taught me to treasure life and love others.
Who are your heroes in real life?
My grandmother; at 87 years, she is still strong and ready to face life’s challenges.
What is your greatest regret?
My grandfather died in a very bad shape and condition beyond recognition so I regret not being around at the time of his death or leaving him in the hands of those who cared less. Maybe he would still be living.
How would you like to die?
I would just want to sleep over.
What is your motto?
‘Cherish God’ and ‘Love your God with all your heart, mind and soul’