Cholhok re-signs for Loughborough Lightning

The shooter is the franchise’s seventh signing for the 2021 Vitality Netball Superleague

Last Updated: 26/10/20 2:52pm

Mary Cholhok will join Ella Clark in Lightning's circle for the 2021 season (Credit: Ben Lumley)
Mary Cholhok will join Ella Clark in Lightning’s circle for the 2021 season (Credit: Ben Lumley)

Mary Cholhok has re-signed for Loughborough Lightning and is now preparing for her third season with the Vitality Netball Superleague franchise.

Cholhok is only the second Ugandan netballer to ply her trade outside of the country and is someone who has shown a tremendous amount of resilience and fortitude to reach this point in her sporting career.

Her feature on Sky Sports’ My Icon highlighted her determination. It showed how her love for the game helped her overcome traditional gender roles in Uganda and that she returned to the sport just a year after giving birth.

From the moment that Cholhok joined Lightning, she excelled and the 6ft 7in shooter was grateful for the support of the player that she replaced, Peace Proscovia.

“She was a friend to me, like I got just closer because I just wanted to know her,” Cholhok said to Sky Sports.

“There is a story she told me which almost collides with my story. She didn’t stop moving because of the challenges she had, and it was the netball that gave her hope.

“She really inspires me, and she encourages me. If she hadn’t given me confidence, I don’t think I would be here.”

Loughborough Lightning – Confirmed squad members

Beth Cobden Sam May
Annabel Roddy Beth Gabriel
Lucy Parize Ella Clark
Mary Cholhok

Cholhok won the ‘Golden Shot’ award in her debut season. Last year, she made her Netball World Cup debut and helped guide Uganda to their highest finish in Liverpool, before being named MVP at the African Nations Cup.

“The 2019 season was the best I’ve ever experienced. It was my first time in the league and to then to win the Golden Shot award at the end [of it], made me so proud of myself,” Cholhok said.

“I’ve learned so much as a person, not only in my position but what to say, what to do, and how to interact with the rest of my teammates.”

The shooter has had a big impact on Lightning since joining (Credit: Ben Lumley)
The shooter has had a big impact on Lightning since joining (Credit: Ben Lumley)

When the national lockdown came into play earlier this year, Cholhok faced a difficult decision before it was taken out of her hands, and she was unable to travel back to Uganda to be with her three-year-old son.

“Lockdown was tough at the start, it was very emotional for me,” she said.

“I needed to process not being able to go home and not being able to see my son, and to focus on doing things that make me happy and that got me away from the way I was feeling.

“I had the whole time to work on what I love to do like dancing, learning to ride a bike, and now learning to play the guitar. I feel like a whole new person now and would encourage everyone to do more of what you enjoy and what you love.”

Vitality Netball Superleague 2021: Squads

A one-stop shop for all of the 2021 Vitality Netball Superleague squads and the place to keep up to speed with the latest signings and re-signings.

Looking ahead to the forthcoming Vitality Netball Superleague season, Cholhok is keen to continue her dominance in the circle and will be combining her work on court with studying for a marketing degree at Loughborough College.

“Next season I just want to do the best I can, to add what I’ve learned over the last two seasons and to get better and better each match.

“I love the energy around the team – I’ve been really enjoying myself at Loughborough [Lightning], I’ve been playing well, and I’ve learned to grow as a person, an individual and as a student. It’s been a very positive experience so far for me.”

Cholhok adds to a strong Lightning line-up for the 2021 season with head coach Sara Bayman having already announced that Beth Cobden will be returning to their mid-court, with Sam May and Ella Clark also re-committing.

Further signings will be announced this week before the Vitality Netball Superleague’s transfer window closes at 5pm on Friday.

Live netball returns to Sky Sports with the Vitality Roses taking on the Silver Ferns in a three-Test series in Hamilton. Join us for the first Test on Wednesday from 6am on Sky Sports Main Event and Mix.

Source : Sky Sports