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From Reluctance to Radiance: Tabitha Ukwishaka’s Basketball Journey

In the world of sports, basketball is often misunderstood by those who haven’t felt its magic. But for a 22-year-old Tabitha Ukwishaka, a female player of REG Women Basketball team, it’s more than a game – it’s her life.

Tabitha’s love affair with basketball didn’t begin until she turned 15. At first, she had no interest in sports, until a conversation with her coach then in high school changed everything. He painted a vivid picture of the beauty in basketball, urging her to give it a try. As time passed, she found herself falling in love with the sport.

“At first, I never had no interest in any kind of sports until I talked to the school basketball coach who inspired me. He motivated me by showing me the good fruits of playing basketball and requested me to give it a try”, Tabitha recalls.

He painted a vivid picture of the beauty of the sport and as time passed, she found herself falling in love with the sport.

But it was not without challenges, negative voices surrounded her, discouraging her from pursuing the sport as they always insisted, she couldn’t make it.

“I faced so many challenges one of them was the negative people. I had surrounded myself with the wrong people who used to discourage me that I wouldn’t make it in basketball and that I would try out something else”, she asserts.

Tabitha (with the ball) in one of Rwanda’s National Basketball team.

The striving never stopped as she joined the University of Rwanda’s (UR) female basketball team on joining campus after her high school.

Jolly Uwingeneye, Tabitha’s friend and team captain, has nothing but showering praise onto her.

“She’s the most dedicated person I have ever seen! So passionate about the sport”, Jolly said, with admiration shining in her eyes.

Coach Wilton James, who recognised Tabitha’s potential from the very beginning, affirms on how he saw Tabitha becoming a superstar in basketball in the future.

“I knew she would become a superstar in basketball. She is incredibly talented and pours her heart and soul into every game! She’s an inspiration to the aspiring”, said Wilton, Tabitha’s former coach.

When asked about what drew her to basketball out of all sports available, Tabitha emphasizes on how it is one of the best games she’s ever seen and the love that pushes her all the time.

“First, it is one of the most enjoyable sports I’ve ever seen. Second, it is something that comes from within, I fell in love with it. May be because my big brother was always watching basketball matches. He was a player too though I don’t recall his team then. That’s where the inspiration begun and now my goal is to be an inspiration to other young people aspiring to join the sport”, she asserted.

Tabitha’s journey from scepticism to wholehearted devotion is a testament to the power of passion, perseverance, and the transformative potential within us all. Her story is one that reminds us that we sometimes least expect to lead us to our true calling.

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