By Avice Meya
This week’s lady has a special place in my heart, Avice is my young cousin and I have seen her grow into doing what she loves despite the fact that she might sometimes not get the full support that she deserves. She pushes herself to the limit and its this very hardwork and perseverance that has seen her make it to being National Swim Team Captain at a very young age. One day, she will win gold for Uganda at the Olympics, for now; here is her story.
My name is Avice Kakayi Meya, born 2nd December 1995 and I am the second born in a family of three. I have attended two different schools; Greenhill Academy for my Primary and early Secondary then Taibah International later on for my A-Level. I come from a sporting background; my mother Sayson Meya loves basketball and has been playing for years albeit retiring from the professional side of it whilst my father Andrew Meya plays cricket of which he is team manager for the Ugandan National Team.
I started swimming when I was only 6 years old with my coach at the time, Mr. Abdul Mohammed; and my father, Andrew Meya. I won my first medal in primary school and a prize for 25m Freestyle in the same competition. Winning that the first prize brought me so much joy and light a fire that has helped me forge my way in sporting world. One of my best primary school highlights was when I was appointed as the swimming Captain for my school through my Primary five till my last year in primary school and when joined secondary school, I was again appointed as House Captain of the Orange House and swim team from 2008 till 2011. I am grateful for the fact that that God blessed me with favor in every school I have attended with leadership skills that have been ingrained in me and helped me stay at the top even when I went to Taibah High School where I formed a swim team of which I was the Captain till graduated from high school.
Due to academics, I took a two year break from swimming and it’s within that time that I faced one of my toughest hurdles, getting back to doing what I love and staying at the helm of it. This was until I joined my 1st swimming club called “Alpha,” we used to train at Kampala International School and then moved to Naguru Hill Preparatory with our head coach Mr. Abel Damulira. It was at this point that I was finally exposed to my 1st International gala, the 4th CANA ZONE IV & III National Championships, which was held in Kampala, Uganda. It was so exciting to compete on a level that helps build skills, I was both anxious and nervous at the same time, my best race in the competition was 50m freestyle and I made a time of 33.00 seconds. This moment will forever stay engraved in my heart because it reignited my passion for the sport and opened doors for me. I met so many talented and skilled swimmers who have inspired me to work even harder than I have always done.
After awhile, I moved on to another club; the “Seals Swim Club” with Mr. Chisela and Mr. Chitumba as head coaches where I found recognition from the Uganda Swimming Federation as a swimmer that could represent the country in both local and national events. I attended various international galas such as; the All Africa Games (2015), CANA Zone III (2015) in Uganda, CANA Zone IV (2015) in Angola and the World University Games in South Korea where I won various medals and made personal best times. I also participated in local galas such as the Seals Invitational Gala (2015), Seals Swim League, East Africa Games (2014), Excel National Gala (2014), Uganda National Swimming Club Invitational Gala (2014 and 2015), and Silver Fin Pentathlon (2016), all with personal best times and medals won.
Currently I am in my third year at Kyambogo University; pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Development Studies and I am the Captain of both the National Swimming Team of Uganda and the Silver Fin Academy Swim Club, Kampala.
I currently hold the record of being one of the fastest women swimmers in the Open Category in Uganda with impressive times. It hasn’t been easy being a professional swimmer, getting sponsorship in Uganda is hard and I have missed several meets because I cannot afford the trips or have not kept up with my training. I think it is time as Ugandans that we start to support sports and not just with promises and finances but being the number fans to those that adhere to represent us even when they are faced with so much resistance.
Aside from swimming, I would love to pursue my dream of being a Diplomat or Ambassador representing my country whenever possible. I am open, kind, active, self-driven, optimistic, and willing to learn new things, a team player and, most of all, a Christian.
Contacts: Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/AviceMeya/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org