Meet Kenya’s first ever female Olympic archer

Anwar, also had the distinct honour of leading the Kenyan march past at the Maracana Stadium in her debut Olympics last year in August.

Shehzana Anwar was the only Kenyan archer in the Rio Olympics 2016.

For a country that is well known for its middle and long distance prowess, Kenya’s Anwar is a rare gem in the elite sporting nation.

According to Anwar, her family helped influence her love of sport.

Her father, Azar Anwar, is a three-time national safari rally champion and was the 2009 Motosport Personality of the Year.

Her mother Tabassum Anwar is President of the Kenya Archery Association, an affiliate of the World Archery Association and was Shehzana’s manager and coach at the Rio Olympics.

Her elder brother Shezan Anwar is Kenya’s seven-time quad bike and motocross champion.

During a recent interview on CNN's African voices, Anwar talks 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.”

Anwar says her mother is the greatest influencer in her life.

“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,” she says.

Anwar's honours

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 that 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,” she says.

After winning the African individual event at the 2016 African Championships in Windhoek, Namibia, she competed at the South African and World Cup in Turkey.

She won gold over the short distance in South Africa and rounded up her Olympic build-up in Antalya last June where she ranked 18, moving up to 195 in the women’s standings from 213.

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