volleyball

Kenya’s volleyball team set for their debut in Tokyo Olympics

Beach Volleyball team
Kenya's Volleyball team

Kenya’s Volleyball team.[Credit/capitalfm.co.ke]

All eyes are set to the Kenyan volleyball team to see what they will score.  This is a big deal as the competition in Tokyo is much awaited.

The team is all out to ensure that they bring home good performance. The players are doing all they can to ensure that they are well prepared.

A day after landing in Tokyo prior to the start of the Olympics, the Kenyan beach volleyball team held two training sessions. The training sessions took place at Shiokaze Park.

According to reports, every team is given a maximum of 45 minutes to train, throughout the day. Therefore, the training is reported to be intense in order to maximize time and make sure most is done.

According to feedback from the players, there is intense humid weather in Tokyo. However, the players have to utilize their time well.

One of the players named Gaudencia Makokha, the team is trying to adjust to the weather.

“This was our training because of the delay at the airport when we arrived on Sunday night. We have had two sessions, but the humidity here is so crazy.

“We are trying to adjust. The first session was not that good, but the second one was better. So I hope tomorrow (Wednesday), it will be better,” said Gaudencia.

Moreover, the players have no choice left other than to go through a tight and crash program. This is to ensure that they recover the lost time. The only practice tournament that they held was the Olympic qualifiers.

The Kenyan team was disadvantaged by the Covid-19 pandemic that restricted movement across the world. Therefore, they did not have enough time for training.

The training was being done in Mombasa for a limited period. Additionally, there was no league that went on in Kenya due to the pandemic.

“Other countries have come here after completing the World Tour in Switzerland. For us, we only had the match in Morocco to prepare. So it is a bit challenging, but then we are used to it as Africans,” Makokha reiterated.

Makokha further added that the government should take up the challenge to ensure all is well for the players. She also suggested that the team should take up the mantle to start a volleyball circuit.

That is to help them catch up with the rest of the teams in the world. Gaudencia further expressed confidence that they have the potential to do well.

Now we are the African champions and we are here at the Olympics. We have been going to the World Championship but it is still not enough. We need to go the World Tours and have a lot of tournaments for us to have good results.”

Kenya's Volleyball team

Kenya’s Malkia Strikers].[Credit/volleyball.world]

The performance of the team over the past few years surely express that the team is full of potential. Some of the tournaments that assure this is the Africa beach games in which they finished second.

Nevertheless, the team also won the Africa Championship in 2021, which doubles up as an Olympic Games qualifier.

“It is not that challenging, but it is all about going for it and working hard. You need to have the potential. Beach volleyball is not for lazy people,” Says Makokha.

The determined player further said that the team should be all out and work hard for them to get good results.

Having the Malkia Strikers in Tokyo for the Olympics is something that makes the team feel at home according to Makokha.

“We are sisters and most of them, apart from playing for the national team, we are teammates at club level. We sleep in the same block, so we are talking to each other. However, our training schedule and theirs is a bit different. So we only meet during mealtime and in the rooms,” she uttered.

On to the lineup of the tournaments that the team will tackle is against Brazil, USA and Latvia, in team D.

Kenya will open with a tournament against Brazil on the 26th of July, Monday. That will be followed by a game against the USA two days later.

However, Gaudencia said that it was too early to predict how their performance will be. She said that they will assess that after they play the first match.

“We will take one game at a time. You can’t tell whether you will be knocked out and yet you have not even played the first match. It is about taking one match at a time,” says the player.

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