Fri 24 Feb 2017, 10:04
This week, CNN’s African Voices reports from Kenya where it meets Shehzana Anwar – the first female Olympic archer in the country’s history and the nation’s flagbearer at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Tune in to Shehzana Anwar's journey on African Voices on Saturday 25 February at 02:30 EAT and 18:30 EAT on CNN (401).
The programme joins Anwar practicing in the same field in Nairobi where she began archery as a child, an experience that would later lead her to compete internationally and at the highest level.
Looking back on her first experiences in the sport, Anwar tells African Voices about the moment when archery became more than just a hobby after a local competition: “An article in the newspaper was printed that stated my scores had eclipsed all those of the men's categories… that's when I realised I would want to take the sport further than just as a hobby. Soon after I was selected to go for the world games in Germany and that was my first international competition.”
African Voices hears how Anwar’s family helped influence her love of sport, with her father being a three-time Kenyan rally champion and brother being an eight-time Kenyan quad bike national champion.
However, Anwar highlights her mother’s contribution to her success, where she doubles as both a coach and a supporter.
Anwar outlines to the programme her mother’s influence: “The person that shaped me most would be my mother. She has been the backbone of everything I've done, so she's always travelled with me and she’s always sponsored me where I need to be sponsored.”
African Voices is shown Anwar’s trophies and accolades, which includes her Commonwealth Games medal, the medal that allowed her to compete at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Awarded the honour of carrying the Kenyan flag during the opening ceremony, Anwar reflects on the experience: “At the time I carried the flag I could not believe it had actually happened. My dream had come true, to make it to the Olympics… Walking out with the flag the people who watched me, my family especially, my father himself told me I've never seen such a big smile on your face… I think that's when everything came together.”
After a 20-year hiatus at the Olympics, Kenyan archery is now enjoying a revival thanks to Anwar’s success at the Olympics, something she hopes to continue.
Anwar explains to the programme: “The biggest misconception people have is that Kenya is only known for runners when it comes to sports. We have incredibly talented weight lifters, boxers, archers hopefully soon more than one, swimmers, you mention it. I want people when they think of Kenya they think of all these sports not just running.”
Remember to catch Shehzana Anwar on African Voices airs on Saturday 25 February at 02:30 EAT and 18:30 EAT on CNN (401).