Fighting prejudice Ornella finds peace in the ring

RABAT, August 26, 2019 – Ghana’s Ornella Sathoud has not always been into combat sports. But in a period when a lot was going on in her life, she ventured into kickboxing and amateur boxing – an unfamiliar terrain for women – on her mother’s suggestion.

She was dealing with racism after moving from Connecticut to Delaware in the United States, while also nursing a heartbreak and living alone for the first time in her life. Boxing became her muse. In that time she was studying for her doctorate degree in Analytical Chemistry at the University of Delaware.

Ornella had tried out some other sports disciplines en route to finding solace in the boxing ring but certain commitments got in the way, with school schedules and logistic problems making her lose interest in volleyball, her first love. Then came rowing and long-distance running.

As fate would have it, Ornella would be invited to the Black Bombers team, the national boxing team in Ghana, ahead of the African Games in Rabat, Morocco. She was totally elated by the call up, expressing her happiness on her social media outlets. The 32-year-old had the opportunity of being mentored by a former two time bantamweight world champion, Joseph Agbeko while in camp.

Ghana presented 10 boxers for the African Games with only two being women. Ornella had her first feel of the African Games on Saturday. She was knocked out by Tunisia’s Mardi Khadija in the women’s middleweight 75kg boxing tournament. “I lost one battle, but I didn’t lose the war yet!” The doctor remarked. The ‘war’ Ornella is referring to is the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifiers which will take place in Senegal next year.

Amateur boxing and professional boxing are quite popular in Ghana. The West African nation hasn’t won many medals at the Olympics, however, out of the four medals won at the ongoing African Games, three have come from boxing.

Ornella, who is currently a teacher and Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Delaware, admitted she has learnt some vital lessons from her first fight in Africa and will definitely be abreast for the Olympic qualifiers. For the women’s middleweight, there are only two Tokyo 2020 slots up for grabs for Africa, so it won’t be a walk in the park for Ornella but the scholar and lover of education is bent on winning the ‘war’.

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