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Gaylene Gaswaga: “Girls’ Lacrosse will be a lesson in hope”

By Kasozi Balikuddembe

Added 13th August 2019 06:25 PM

The scale of her rather immediate achievements in the game is something to be cherished.

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Gaswaga. File Photo

The scale of her rather immediate achievements in the game is something to be cherished.

Fact File
Name: Gaylene Gaswaga
Age: 17
Club: Silverbacks Academy
School: Nabisunsa Girls
Position: Midfield
Fav meal: Indian cuisine
Fav phone: Samsung
Dream destination: Kosovo (Europe)
Dream ride: Sportbike
Facebook; YES
Whatsapp: Yes
Accolades: Girls Championship MVP 2016, 2017, ,2018,  MVP 2019 Nabisunsa Open
Gaylene Gaswaga is a huge attraction in Ugandan Lacrosse. After completing a three-peat as the Most Valuable Player in the schools' championships, she deserves all the plaudits.
But even then her conquest stretches to the national U19 team where she is one of the players holding together the team.  In an engaging manner, she spent some good time with me dissecting moments from her lacrosse career which is clearly on the up and up!
The scale of her rather immediate achievements in the game is something to be cherished as she narrates her break out performances by then at Namagunga that led her to MVP in schools championships three times in a row.
“I should say I’m proud of what I have achieved in the game; you know it takes so much practice and dedication. When I look back on when I started and the level I’m on now I get a sense of satisfaction knowing that I have fruits to show for my time and commitment to the game of lacrosse. Better still what I have achieved so far inspires and shows me that I can go all the way and achieve more.
Now, the interview room at her father Justice Duncan Gaswaga’s office erupts into laughter when I joke about her inability to build muscles to handle the rigors of the game. She says that “I would not fancy bulging muscles but then I work out very well, I’m fit enough, powerful without necessarily having that physique” well it is the size of the fight in the dog not the size of the dog!
Gaswaga now quickly switches into a personal mode when asked about what inspired her to start playing a game that had and still now not opened up to a large audience in Uganda.
“It all started with me watching a popular television series called Teen Wolf, a show that has bits of the game. When I joined secondary school by then at Mt.St. Marys Namagunga, I encouraged a lot of girls there to take up the sport and ever since I have not looked back. From the time I started, I can confidently state that I have already inspired different people including my brothers at home.
Looking through my notebook, I seek her opinion on why Women sport generally is yet to arrive on the high table with the journey still a long way to go and what could be the game-changer.
“I believe there is a lot of work to be done by the people in charge of sports in Uganda. There is a lot of talented young girls out there but if there are no proper channels to develop them then they are discouraged. Secondly for our case as national lacrosse female players, if we perform very well at the highest level then this can continue to serve as an eye-opener for sponsors.
On a scene that does not guarantee monetary returns her thoughts on this reveal much about her selfless ambitions in the game.
“I play hoping that maybe my career could present a turning point and inspire all the other girls in the country and on the continent. The girls have the ability to do a great job any time any day; it is just a question of someone to show them the way. I walk with the confidence that in future people will look at girls lacrosse with lessons to draw.
 With age on her side backed by remarkable achievements, there is a sense that she is just at the beginning of a huge career as a player. It is quite interesting learning about what would be her crowning moment.
“Well truthfully at some point you have to stop, at least with the competitive aspect for I have to balance because there are studies to pursue and of course a career from my education.
 So with that need to strike a balance in mind, my crowning moment would be in inspiring a lot of people and becoming a successful administrator preferably at Silverbacks Academy where young people from different backgrounds are introduced to the game and other benefits like scholarships.  And as a player, I fancy chances of being one of the best players in the world.   
Nonetheless, it has not been all rosy for the teenage sensation who remains overly disappointed by failure for the national U19 girls’ team to travel for this year’s World Championship in Canada generally over a lack of funds.
As she sleeps on those anxious thoughts following the World Championship miss, she still has a lot on her plate locally and more importantly a future that promises bright lights.
TWITTER: @ casozi 14

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