16 January 2007
UGANDA : Akullo cracks male supremacy
By Gloria Kyomugisha
USPA AWARDS - 2006
Basketball - Becky Akullo
KAMPALA City Council Leopards’ leading scorer Becky Akullo was named basketball player of the year 2006 by the sports press. The 24-year old national league silver medalist becomes the first female basketball player to scoop the award that has in the past been conferred upon males in a sport dominated by men.
Marines forward Boniface Okello and Lady Bucks point guard Flavia Oketcho, who were awarded the 2006 league Most Valuable player accolades, finished second and third respectively, behind Akullo for the overall award.
“The award means the world to me and I am really honoured to have won it,” said Akullo, who was rather shocked at the news.
“I never dreamt I would receive the award — what with players like Norman Blick, Salim Ali and Mark Enabu! it’s a career achievement for me.” The 5’6” left-handed Akullo is an imposing basketballer.
KCC Leopards coach Mandy Juruni referred to her as clutch player who was key to their making it to the finals last year. “She is strong both offensively and defensively and eager to improve her game.
“It is also thrilling for a woman to overshadow icons like Blick, Boniface Okello, Isaac Afidra to basketballer of the year.”
Akullo guided her team to the Miracle Invitational and Makerere Open titles early in the season before helping team Kampala to second place in the Inter-cities tournament in May.
“I think Becky really inspired us to achieve success, she deserves the accolade,” her teammate and friend Miriam Hamala described her.
Akullo’s quest for supremacy started in 1997 when she featured for Nabumali High school in the Sprite Schools meet.
In September 2003, she helped MUK-Sparks dethrone Lady Bucks of the league title while pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Makerere University.
“Becky has an unbelievable winning spurt,” said Marines captain Boniface Okello.
PAST WINNERS since 2001
2001 - Norman Blick
2002 - Isaac Afidra
2003 - Sam Obol
2004 - Norman Blick
2005 - Norman Blick
2006 - Becky Akullo