Dorcus Inzikuru: Inzi's pregnancy worth a public alarm?
Will return to fitness: Dorcus Inzikuru (in white) trains at Namboole.

Dorcus Inzikuru: Inzi's pregnancy worth a public alarm?


In Inzi's Alur culture, a married woman becomes a misfit in society when she clocks thirty years without an offspring.

By Ramathan Kasozi
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First published: September 19, 2007


Ever since the Ugandan media broke the story that Ugandan number one female athlete Dorcus Inzikuru was pregnant, many Ugandans started demanding for an explanation. The revelation caused so much alarm that it has turned into a national debate. Those unhappy with Inzikuru's pregnancy claim it is serious enough end her hitherto bright career.


True, these Ugandans are concerned about the Commonwealth and world steeplechase champion's fitness status (especially with the Olympic Games due in China next year). However, this does not give them the right to demand for such an explanation. Despite being an international celebrity and a Ugandan asset, Inzi, as she is popularly known, is a human being who is entitled a private/family life. Pregnancy is very much part and parcel of what every female endures, save for those unfortunate enough to suffer from barrenness. Inzikuru is 25 years old and officially married; enough facts for her critics to revise their ideologies. Nobody but Inzi has the right to determine the right time for her to conceive.

In Inzi's Alur culture, a married woman becomes a misfit in society when she clocks thirty years without an offspring to show for it. Many women in Uganda freely build careers before they decide to enter motherhood. The Ugandan track queen should not be exceptional, especially with her biological clock ticking. The 'Ugandan Gazelle' has been out of action for a while on the orders of her doctors due to sinusitis, a respiratory ailment. Forced to offer an explanation to the public, she revealed that she welcomed the ailment as a blessing in disguise. "I knew I would be out of action for some good months nursing sinusitis. Therefore, I decided to utilise the period to have a baby. I could be able to run again next year and I hope to come back stronger. I promise the nation that much," the ever-smiling Inzzi disclosed at a press conference in July 2007.

Whatever the case, the possibility of Inzikuru returning to the track should be a separate debate, since we have witnessed many sports women who had children resurface on the circuits with a bang. Former national star runner Grace Birungi provides a good example of this. She once competed in the National Championships at Bugembe, Jinja while three months pregnant. After a successful delivery, she returned to scoop a bronze medal for Uganda in the 1999 All Africa Games in Johannesburg, South Africa. Netball/basketball star Annet Nakiwu, athlete Margaret Nakintu, weight lifter Irene Ajambo to mention but a few, are on the endless list of Ugandan sports women who are mothers but still enjoying sport careers. "It is like being off season. Getting back to peak fitness is a big psychological battle, but returning to competition fitness isn't difficult," comments Ajambo, Uganda's top female weight lifter.

Will return to fitness: Dorcus Inzikuru (in white) trains at Namboole
Will return to fitness: Dorcus Inzikuru (in white) trains at Namboole.

On the international scene, the Kenyan trio of Catherine Ndereba, Edith Masai and Isabella Ochie, United States' multi-talented athlete Marion Jones and England's Paula Radcliffe underwent the trials Inzikuru is currently experiencing but managed to bounce back big time. The public alarm has not only affected Inzikuru's private life, but also affected her psychologically, although she continues to assure her critics that she will be back. "This is normal in life and I am like any other person. Why should it cause public alarm? I will be back stronger and will definitely be on the national team for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games," promises the Mvara Senior Secondary School old girl.

This is not the first time for Inzi to be tested publicly. Half a decade ago, she had to choose between her books and her sports career. Her decision to put her academic career on hold to concentrate on the running career culminated in another hot debate in Uganda.

"I can return to school at any age. You can not say the same for athletics," she was quoted replying to her critics then. The critics were only silenced when she started reaping medals for the country and interesting, some of these critics were the first to congratulate and praise her.

Inzikuru putting her running career on hold is nothing we can reverse. Let us give her some comfort. She will be back, just as she promises, and start from where she left. All comments against her not withstanding, let us forget the pregnancy and imagine she is nursing a one-year-long injury. It happens to many other sports personalities the world over.

By Ramathan Kasozi
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First published: September 19, 2007
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Ramathan Kasozi is a member of Ultimate Media Consult (U) Ltd. . A graduate Journalist, Kasozi has more than 5 years experience reporting on sports in Uganda for different print and broadcast media houses.