Mary Cholholk is hard to miss. On or off the court. Her limbs were simply designed “with the goal in sight.” Yet for all her natural endowments, it was a strong will that preserved her netball dream through the difficulty of family opposition and an early pregnancy.
“My family wasn’t happy about it, they felt it would distract me and my grades would drop down. So they were a little bit uneasy about it,” says Nuba, as the 6ft7inch goal attack is fondly known.”Sometimes I would sneak out to play trying to balance both.”
So when she conceived while in school, Nuba’s education, not to mention netball hopes seemed over. Soon becoming a single mother, Cholholk was told to just settle down and look after her son. But she had other ideas. Bigger ideas!
“Having a kid at 20 years felt like… wow it was tough. So I really had to take the step up, to become responsible, become a mother now, and also try to look out for his future.” She didn’t have to wait long. Just months after Yasson’s birth, Nuba secured a professional netball contract that would also pave the way for higher studies at Loughborough University in England. The move to Loughborough was the result of Nuba’s stirring star turn at the 2017 World University Netball Championships, which inspired Uganda to the title after a last-gasp upset over South Africa in the final.
Nuba’s form was carried straight into her debut season in the English Vitality Super-league, where she finished as league top scorer. That was followed by a netball World Cup debut with the She Cranes In Liverpool in 2019. Nuba, studying for a degree of business administration, is the heir apparent to Uganda captain Peace Proscovia, a former Loughborough star, currently playing for Australia’s Sunshine Coast.
Like Proscovia, Cholholk is passionate about women empowerment, urging girls “to open up their eyes” and chase their dreams.
Name: Mary Nuba Cholhok
Club: Loughborough Lightning
National team: Uganda She Cranes