UoN's Atieno perfects blend of talent, beauty and brains

By Elizabeth Mburugu: Tuesday, February 11th 2020 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Basketball
UoN Dynamite's Faith Atieno, with ball and Melissa Akinyi of Equity Bank during Kenya Basketball Federation League at Nyayo Gymnasium. June 8, 2019. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Third Year Bachelor of Pharmacy student says she has struck a perfect balance between sports and academics and playing helps her excel in class.

That best things come in smaller packages could not be far-fetched, if the diminutive University of Nairobi (UoN) Dynamites point guard Faith Atieno is anything to go by.

Atieno, who is a former Loreto Limuru student, is a perfect example of how to blend talent and brains.

The 20-year-old Third Year Bachelor of Pharmacy student was key in Dynamites' last season’s campaign powering her side into the Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) women’s Premier League semi-final play-offs.

Her prowess saw UoN, who had earned a promotion to the top tier, shake off the underdogs tag and finish fourth behind champions Equity Bank, Kenya Ports Authority and Storms.

She also turned out to be one of the greatest revelations of the season and is currently ranked among the country’s top shooters.

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Her efforts did not go unnoticed and she was nominated in the 2019 Safaricom Sports Personality of the Year Awards (Soya) Most Promising Player category.

“I had a good season, but I’m not done yet because my goal and that of Dynamites is to play in this year’s final. Getting a Soya nomination was an honour not just to me, but to the entire team and we are determined to keep improving,” Atieno said.

Atieno added that she has worked very hard for every bit of her success managing to strike a perfect balance between the sport she is very passionate about, and class work.

“I put extra hours in training but I never miss my classes because I have worked on the two for them to complement each other. Playing basketball has made me a critical thinker and my decisions are always spot on. It has also improved my mental and physical well being."

"In class, I perform better than my colleagues who do not take part in any sport because I’m more attentive just like on the court where I have to keep my eyes on the ball and figure out my teammates as well as opponents' next move.”

An ardent fan of Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James, she is also among athletes who have used technology to improve their playing skills.

“I’m not as tall as LeBron and I may not also pass as an ideal basketball player due to my height and physique, but I love the way he plays and I watch him on YouTube because there are skills I learn from him and other international players and I must say I have improved after watching those videos.”

Locally, Atieno is inspired by Equity Bank Hawks and national team player Samba Mjomba. “Samba is my role model, I look up to her because she is a good player.”


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