28-year-old Faith Ogallo is a champion, not just in taekwondo but for the environment.
Faith was studying social work at Kibabii University alongside playing basketball for the school. Eliakim Otieno, a sports scientist and taekwondo coach, noticed her during a game and suggested to her that she dedicates herself to taekwondo instead, believing she was cut out for the sport.
In 2018 she dedicated her training to taekwondo. Under the tutelage of Coach Otieno, Faith trains using scientific methods, to specifically improve physical ability, fitness components, flexibility, reaction time, strength, power, speed, balance, and agility.
Only three months into her training regime, her coach took Faith to the Rwanda Korean Ambassadors Championship. Despite her coach suggesting the competition mostly for exposure, Faith returned home with a gold medal!
This kick-started her success across a variety of events. Faith won silver at the 2019 Africa Games; qualified for the Olympics at the 2020 African Taekwondo Olympic Qualification Tournament; and competed at Tokyo 2020, just three years into her career.
Her participation in Tokyo 2020 marked the first time in 13 years that a Kenyan had competed in an Olympic taekwondo event.
As Faith has been taking on the world of taekwondo, her platform has grown, and she is eager to use it to amplify her voice as an environmentalist. Her passion for the planet started when she was young and now, she works in schools to educate children on the environment, hoping to inspire the next generation. One of her main concerns is air pollution, while this poses many environmental and health risks, it can be especially damaging for athletes when training. Faith has said she’s struggled during training as she feels as if she can’t get enough clean air.
Faith believes that the fight against climate change is not just about taking the steps yourself, but educating others and encouraging them to do the same. After gaining confidence through her taekwondo practise, Faith has found it easier to speak up on her environmental concerns.
When she’s not training for forthcoming events, Faith enjoys taking part in other sports such as netball, athletics, race walking, handball, and she still enjoys playing basketball recreationally.