Husnah Kukundakwe the youngest athlete at Tokyo Paralympics is set to create history
The teenager from Uganda will be competing in Women's 100m Breaststroke at the Tokyo Paralympics
The long-standing cliché of age being just a number has been used quite often in sports, especially at the Tokyo Olympics, and it looks like that trend is set to follow at the Paralympics as well. Husnah Kukundakwe, who is only 14-year-old, is set to create history as she'll be the youngest athlete to participate in the Tokyo Paralympics. The teenager is also Uganda's only Para swimmer at Tokyo 2020 and would be competing in the Women's 100m Breaststroke (SB8) category.
Husnah will also be Uganda's second ever para swimmer, after Prossy Tusabe who competed at the Sydney Paralympics, to participate in the Paralympic Games.
Born without a right forearm and with a malformation to her left hand, Husnah started with swimming lessons at the age of five at her school in Uganda. Husnah would initially swim just for fun and to play in the water and had also tried other sports such as volleyball and netball.
However, things changed when Husnah saw his cousin competing at a gala in school and was awestruck by his speed in the pool. At this moment, Husnah decided to leave other sports and she started to compete in swimming.
The shy kid
In her school days Husnah most of the time went around wearing a sweater, even in hot conditions, as she was shy and wanted to ensure that she could hide her hands. Husnah also faced difficulty in her early days as the people around her would often laugh and look at her differently.
But the situation improved for the better when she started swimming and people started to recognize her a bit more. The sport also helped Husnah with her confidence as she ditched the sweater and overcame her shyness and moved around the campus more freely.
Road to Tokyo
Husnah Kukundakwe made her debut in the international competitions in 2019 when she represented Uganda at the Singapore World Series. The teenager would then also go on to compete in the World Para Swimming Championships in the same year.
Two years later in April 2021, Husnah achieved her dream of qualifying for the Paralympics when she competed at the World Para-swimming Series in the United Kingdom. Husnah put in a formidable performance in the women's 100m breaststroke (SB8) as she clocked a time of 1:36.31, which was much quicker than the minimum entry time of 1:37.44, to seal her qualification for the Tokyo Paralympics.
Husnah has already achieved a feat that very few have managed before as a para swimmer from the African continent is a rare sight. All eyes would be on the teenager from Uganda as she gets ready to make a big splash on the grandest stage of them all.