Student Spotlight: Rugby Sensation Billy ‘The Kid’ Odhiambo
When determination meets excellence a well-rounded character is formed. This is the story of Billy the kid Odhiambo, a 2nd year BBIT student at Strathmore University, the youngest member of Kenya Sevens rugby team, a member of Leos Strathmore rugby team and a nominee for the most promising player category in last years Sports of the Year Awards (SOYA). His game is admirable.
A 3rd born child in a family of four, Billy is the only one in his family who has ventured into sports, a talent, he states and acknowledges is a gift from God. His journey begun when he joined Maseno High school where rugby was the only sport that had potential; Billy decided to try it out and it was a perfect fit. This decision birthed his successful career path both in school and sports.
In his final year of high school in 2011 during a rugby tournament at Kakamega High school, Mitch Ocholla, Strathmore Universitys rugby coach spotted him as he scouted for potential students and offered him a scholarship. The scholarship offered comprised of studying BBIT course as well as playing for the University rugby team.
Billy accepted the offer and joined Strathmore in 2012 where he played for the Leos team. After a few months in the team, his talent was recognized by then the Kenya Sevens coach Mike Friday who called him to join the Kenya national team. This whole experience felt great and it is extremely humbling, Billy said.
Studying at Strathmore has been a pleasant experience, albeit the difficulty in balancing study life and playing for both teams. His routine involves working out from 6 am in the morning, with Kenya Sevens, being in school during the day and finally practicing with the Leos team in the evenings. This routine may change depending on the demand for practice especially with the national team on selective tournament periods. Nevertheless both coaches will allow him to concentrate on school work when exams are approaching or projects are due.
Exposure and Awards
The exposure is awesome. Playing for Kenya Sevens team has taught me a lot of skills that I pass on to Leos when necessary, Billy said. This input saw the Leos team reach the finals in Kenya Cup last year, although they were defeated by current champions Nakuru. The team reaching this far is part of Billys great achievements.
While playing for IRB in last years series Billy was recognized as the 2012 -2013 highest try scorer in the Kenya Cup. Coming straight from high school, joining the Strathmore university team, then joining the national team and then emerging as the top try scorer of that season was a great achievement for such a young player.
Billy was also nominated for Most Promising Player category in last years SOYA awards. Although he did not win, the recognition confirmed that his hard work is paying off.
Key lessons learnt so far?
Billy rides on having a fighting spirit to make it to the top.
Role model and Mentor
His father is his biggest role model. He believes in him, encourages him, and supports him in all he does. His mother, who was not a rugby fan, learnt about the game and now watches it especially when her son is playing and has been of great support to him.
His mentor in the rugby field is Collins Injera.
The Next Five Years
Billy has been described as a young man with a bright future in Kenya Sevens by his coaches. He hopes to do extremely well in the positions he plays as winger or center.
He would like to be chosen to play for Kenya in the upcoming Olympics -2016. He strongly believes that Kenya will win the tournament and he wants to be a part of this.
We wish Billy all the best in his endevours.
Watch Billy as he narrates his story: