Ugandan audit firm Baker Tilly Hem LLP boosted swimming sensation Larry Graig Feni‘s preparations for the World Junior Aquatic Swimming championships starting Monday inIsrael with a Shs1m token of appreciation. The token was given to the 17-year-old Special Olympics perennial gold medalist in appreciation of his recent success when he won two gold medals for Uganda in the 50m breaststroke and 25m freestyle races at the Special OlympicsWorld Games in Berlin, Germany last June.
Feni was invited to the Bakerilly Hem LLP offices along Yusuf Lule Road next to the UNDP offices by Manjit Kothari, the firm’s Managing Partner. Manjit revealed that Feni’s story touched and inspired him so much, which is why he decided to invite him to inspire and motivate the firm’s staff as well.
“Feni is a true champion who has overcome adversity to conquer the world. His determination and dedication towards swimming should inspire each one of us to aim for excellence in whatever we do both at the workplace and in our personal lives. That is why I would like to salute our great champion Feni and also his mum who has worked hard to offer him the supporting environment to become what he is today,” Manjit said.
Handing over the cheque to the double Champion at the firm’s office at Yusuf Lule road in Kampala last Friday, Karthik Belle, the Bakertilly Hem LLP Senior Audit Manager revealed that the firm decided to appreciate Feni because he is an inspiration to many given that he sailed above his own natural limitations to become a world champion and national pride.
“Feni’s success story is an inspiration to all dreamers in whatever field of life. We therefore chose to appreciate him because his path resonates well with Bakertilly’s values of teamwork and maintaining a supportive environment in which all humanity can thrive,” Karthik said.
Solomon Okello, the Audit Manager NGO who handed Feni a certificate of recognition from the firm particularly thanked Feni for changing his life story from that of limitation to becoming a national pride for Uganda and a global example of the fruits of determination.
“You’re such a special guy because despite your physical limitations you have fought to become a world champion. Our wish is to see you achieve even more greatness, so go and shine,” Okello said.
At the games which kick off Monday September 4th at the Wingate Institute in Netanya, Israel, Feni will compete in the 50m and 100m freestyle and breaststroke races, where he is highly expected to finish on the podium. For the record, Feni is a multi-gold medalist, having first clinched gold at the big stage during the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi. He followed this with double gold in the 50m breaststroke and 25m freestyle races at the recent Special Olympics Games in Berlin, Germany. For this feat, he was named the USPA sports personality for June and it is on this same account that Baker Tilly Hem LLP extended a token of appreciation to him.
A Model to Parents
Marion Ninsiima, the Baker Tilly Hem LLP head of Human Resources urged her staff to emulate Feni’s story, which she said is an inspiration to humanity in all aspects right from the work place to parenting.
“From a professional point of view, this young man shows us that anyone can learn a skill and excel in it to create lasting value for themselves and the firm they work for. So, if Feni with all the limitations his mum has revealed to us can break through and become a champion then all of us here can become champions at the work place if we adopt the right mindset,” Ninsiima said.
Ninsiima’s remarks were in response to Feni’s mother Karungi Gabriela Patience, who recounted her own struggles as a young mother to a special needs child that Feni was.
Karungi revealed that she conceived the future Olympic champion at the tender age of 20, while still a campus student.
“WhenLarry was born, he took so long to learn how to speak and was very hyper. Out of naivety, I mistook his behavior for stubbornness so I beat him up all the time,” she said.
Karungi revealed that it was until she took Feni to school at the age of 3 that he was diagnosed with speech and hearing impairment as well as autism.
“As a mother I panicked and feared for the future of my son. However, the specialists discovered that he loved water and so they advised us to put him in water to calm him whenever he suffered an episode,” she said.
She added that this was the turning point for Feni as he learnt how to swim and by age 8 he had begun winning medals and showing signs of being a champion swimmer at the grand stage. She thus appealed to parents and aspiring parents to always be patient with their children and strive to understand them so as to turn their assumed failures into future fortunes.