Christine Ongare, a Kenyan boxer who became pregnant at age 12, just qualified for the Olympics at age 26.
Ongare took third in the 51kg flyweight division at an African Olympic qualifier where three Olympic spots were available. Ongare, a 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist, is headed to Tokyo.
Ongare, speaking to the Olympic Channel, said that when she became pregnant, the help she had came in the form of her mom — a single parent herself.
“So, my mum took the responsibility of raising my child,” she said, according to the report. “So even my child knows my mum as their mother.”
Ongare described herself as “a ghetto girl” who came from an area of Kenya where girls give birth at very young ages out of desperation.
“I was a small child. It was just peer pressure, to try something and then it ruins you,” she said. “I have gone through a tough life, so hard. It’s just that I don’t like talking about it.”
Ongare said that her mom helped her get back to school, but they didn’t have money.
“Boxing is all I have,” she said in the Olympic Channel interview before she qualified. “It is said when you fall down, you must rise up again.
“There is no other place I can get money, take a loan without interest. So if I qualify for the Olympics, it will open doors. It will help me a lot.”
OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!Follow @nbcolympictalk
The story of Christine Ongare 🇰🇪 is incredible.
Her #Tokyo2020 qualification is the reward to a life of endless effort and self-determination.
— Olympic Channel (@olympicchannel) February 29, 2020