In the year 2000, a 12 year old girl picked interest in Kibera Olympics Gym. Her initial interest in martial arts had been triggered by watching wrestling on TV but unfortunately this was a sport not available in Kenya. Left with three choices: Boxing, Karate and normal weight cutting exercise offered in the gym, Joyce Awino chose Boxing which would later lead her to kickboxing. Four weeks into her training, she participated in a match against Beatrice Kimbezi where she lost by points.
Kickboxing is not popular in Kenya mainly because of lack of government support and dishonest promoters. This caused Joyce Awino to move to Tanzania where the situation is much better. When in Kenya, Joyce trains at Lang’ata Ultra Fitness Gym.
Joyce has participated in competitions in Malawi, Zambia, Namibia and Kenya. She won the inaugural Xtra Kombat Regional Ladies’ Low Kick Kickboxing title after triumphing over South Sudan’s Natasha Winnie on 15th October, 2016 at the Safaricom Indoor Arena, Nairobi.
To Joyce, the sky is the limit and in November 2016 she will be in Australia to fight for an intercontinental title.
She encourages people to be more supportive of kickboxers citing the current state of affairs where people fear martial arts sportswomen thinking they are violent in nature. “Kickboxing is a sport like any other and discipline is a must for success, furthermore, it is a job like any other. People have tried picking a fight with me on the streets but I always walk away and never fight back.” She also urges ladies to participate in kickboxing and other sports to keep healthy and engaged. “Young ladies should pursue kickboxing as a career instead of getting into early marriages, drug abuse and prostitution which have negative and far reaching effects.”
To conclude, Joyce reminds aspiring kickboxers that winning is never easy, you must train hard and long like 3 hours in the gym every day. “Kickboxing pays, it feeds my family and pays my kid’s fees,” she ends.