“Olympic glory is still very much the focus”. An optimistic Faith Ogallo pointed out her motivation to train for several enervating hours.
“I want Tae kwondo in Kenya to become better than it is currently by changing lives and make it fun for everybody by developing a strong mindset to train without procrastinating.
The environmentalist, who is inspired by the senior Kenyan players and with the vast experience she has gained in the game is also looking up to other African Tae Kwondo fighters like 27-year-old Ruth Marie Christelle Gbagbi, the Ivorian Tae kwondo who competed in the 67 kg event at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Tae kwondo is a Korean martial art featuring high speed, sweeping kicks and quick punches sport. It was first included in the Olympic programme as a demonstration sport in 1988 and again in 1992 before becoming a medal sport at the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia.
Ogallo is the only Kenyan Taekwondo athlete who qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. It has been 20 years of torment, with no qualification and poor preparations before qualifiers. However, after overcoming the odds to reach Tokyo 2020, Faith is hopeful of coming home with a medal and venture into coaching later on to mentor other athletes.
Dickson Wamwiri (the late) and Milka Akinyi were the first to represent Team Kenya at the Olympic games in a Tae Kwondo event in 2008 Beijing China.
Ogallo, at 27 currently pursues a Bachelor of Arts degree in social work at Kibabii University. She qualified for Tokyo 2020 after beating Florence Eldgima of Chad in the heavyweight final during the African qualification event in Morocco.
With the pandemic challenges, the 27 -year- old still pushes on with her training at Kasarani Stadium and is always thankful to her coach who introduced her to the sport four years ago. She was playing basketball at Kibabii University before that.
“It’s God’s favour on me and it reminds me of Coach Eliakim Otieno’s quote ‘Believe, begin, become what you want to see’. And ‘never cross the bridge before you reach it’’.
Ogallo has competed in various competitions for Kibabii University’s team, including the Korean Ambassador Cup, Mombasa Chairman’s Cup, Tanzania’s Korean Cup won Gold medal and Rwanda’s Genocide Memorial Tournament where she won gold medal and the just concluded 2021 African Senior Kyorugi Championships in Dakar Senegal where she won a Bronze medal.