Neku AtawodiNigeria’s polo queen, Neku Atawodi, will be a guest on this week’s edition of CNN African Voices along with two other female sports icons making waves on the continent. Globacom sponsors the programme. The two other guests are Bianca Buitendag of Victoria Bay, South Africa, and Shehzana Anwar of Nairobi, Kenya.
The story of Atawodi is an exciting one. She is regarded as the world’s only active black female professional polo player. A statement from Globacom said 28 year-old Atawodi holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Equestrian Science and a Masters degree in International Business. She has a British Horse Society stage 4 riding accreditation.
Her foray into the game, generally reserved for the men folk, began with her strange love for “the smell of dirty leather.” Atawodi gradually grew into a legend on the sport and ended up playing professional polo in over 14 countries. She now sits on the prestigious Federation of International Polo.
The statement noted that viewers will have a peek into her journey into professional polo, which started at age 13, and how, despite subtle discouragement from family members, she remained focused on her ambition until she got to the peak.
The second guest, Shehzana Anwar is the reigning African Archery Champion. She competed in archery at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, where she was the Kenyan flag-bearer. Born in 1989, Shehzana started archery in 2002 and made her international debut in 2008.
The third guest, Bianca Buitendag, is a South African professional surfer. She was born in Western Cape, South Africa, in 1993, and grew up near the beach of False Bay outside of Cape Town, where she learned to surf at age 8 with her two brothers. Buitendag qualified onto the ASP World Tour in 2013, and finished the year with the highly coveted ‘Rookie of The Year’ Award at the ASP awards ceremony. According to her, she owes a lot of her success to her father.
“My father was the one who pushed me into my first wave, and he has been supporting me ever since that day. He introduced me to what I know and call ‘my first love’, the ocean, and to a sport that I will do for as long as I can walk”, she revealed.
Viewers will see more of these amazons on the CNN magazine programme, which airs at 10.30am on Fridays with repeat editions at 2.30pm on Saturdays, 12.30am and 7.30pm on Sundays. Viewers can also watch the show on Mondays at 11:30pm and on Tuesdays at 5.30am.