Shehzana Anwar: Kenya’s Trailblazing Archer

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Archery is almost unheard of in Kenya despite it having a governing body. The Kenya Archery Sports Organization was established in 1992. It represents professional archers in the country. One of the most recognized archers is Shehzana Anwar. She’s a former African champion and considered a pioneer. 

How did she make it into the sport? Read more about Shehzana Anwar below.

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Shehzana Anwar’s Background

Shehzana was born on 21 August 1989 in Nairobi, Kenya. She grew up in a sporty family. Her father, Azar Anwar, is a former safari rally champion while her brother is a quad bike and motocross champion. Her mother managed her and is the Chairperson of the Kenya Archery Association

As a Muslim woman, Shehzana admits that she’s been asked severally about her religion, considering Islam’s strict doctrines.

“I play all sports but other mainstream sports aren’t encouraged in Islam. My parents didn’t allow me to play them but when I got into archery, they were OK with it.” Shehzaba Anwar told Carol Radull Live

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Career in Archery

As archery isn’t readily available to most people, finding out how Shehzana got into it is fascinating. 

“I came across archery with my parents. At the time, the club located at Splash was young and starting out so after doing a few shots, they encouraged me to join. Every weekend, I’d spend time there practising and I just loved it.”

Her defining moment came during her first local competition. She was the youngest and beat all the older men competing against her. 

From there, Shehzana focused on the sport. She participated in several competitions for two years before attending the 11th Africa Archery Championships in 2016 in Windhoek, Namibia. 

Shehzana emerged as the champion and qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics. This made her the first Kenyan female archer to achieve this feat in the sport.

Additionally, Shehzana was Kenya’s flagbearer at the tournament.

“There are no words to explain the feeling of carrying the flag at the biggest sporting tournament in the world. I was under a bit of pressure because there was so much expectation from people to do well.”

At the tournament, Shehazana was defeated in the first round by South Korean archer Ki Bo-bae. 

Apart from playing, Shehzana holds certificates in beginner courses and teaches starters. 

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Financial Implications of the Sport

If you’re interested in archery, you must dig deep into your pockets to get the equipment. Shehzana invested in her equipment over time.

“I didn’t start with the professional kit. I’ve accumulated funds over the years to afford the professional equipment but beginners can go for the less expensive stuff, better themselves and upgrade. It’s an expensive sport and you have to have money to play.”

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