‘I had to go for my dream and dis­obey my par­ents’ be­liefs’

Interview Peace Proscovia re­veals to Pippa Field how sport helped her to es­cape poverty and forced mar­riage

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Netball -

To un­der­stand what net­ball means to Uganda cap­tain Peace Proscovia is to lis­ten to what she be­lieves her life would be like with­out it. “A no­body in the com­mu­nity and a mother to nu­mer­ous chil­dren, toil­ing in a world where you can’t see any fu­ture,” she says im­me­di­ately.

Proscovia, 29, will be­gin her sec­ond World Cup in to­mor­row’s game against Eng­land as one of the most feared goal shoot­ers in the world. Net­ball has al­tered her life in unimag­in­able ways: it prompted her to dis­obey her fam­ily, it nearly led to her dy­ing, it gave her an ed­u­ca­tion. And then it helped create the prospect of a new life for other Ugan­dan girls. “I’ve al­ways de­scribed net­ball as an an­chor to

lean on. All that I have and all that I am is all sur­rounded in net­ball,” says Proscovia, the sec­ond el­dest of eight chil­dren grow­ing up in a poverty-stricken vil­lage in the north of Uganda. “I come from a fam­ily where there were no op­por­tu­ni­ties. I could not meet the ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties of life. Through net­ball I was able to leave my vil­lage, come over to the city and later get the op­por­tu­nity to rep­re­sent my coun­try.

“But it was a very com­plex thing. I had to stand for my­self and say ‘ this is net­ball, this is my fu­ture and I will achieve all that I want to achieve through it’. I had to go for my dream and dis­obey the be­liefs of my par­ents.”

Proscovia’s child­hood was “sur­vival of the fittest”. On a physical level, there was the

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