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Kenyan teams in action on opening day at Africa Beach Games

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The men's handball team during a training session in Hammamet
  • Sprint rowing and handball will be in action on Saturday
  • This is the second edition of the Africa Beach Games
  • Kenya will be represented by 73 athletes

 Kenyan teams will be in action on the opening day of the second edition of the Africa Beach Games, with the sprint rowing as well as the men and women’s handball teams in action in the Tunisian city of Hammamet.

The national handball team is counting on their experience from the Global Tour tournament which they played just before the Beach Games, clinching a silver medal after losing the final to hosts Tunisia.

The team says the lessons picked will be vital for them heading to the African showpiece which starts Saturday.

They have within their ranks the experienced Michelle Adhiambo, also the skipper of the Nairobi Water Handball team, and she says they have prepared well enough to push themselves into the medal bracket.

“We have had a chance to play against some of the teams during the Global Tour and it has had a really great impact on our preparation. It has helped us get to know the teams and also settle in early enough, so we are ready,” Adhiambo said.

She added; “We will take every match seriously. We will not underrate any team even those we beat in the global tour because they have definitely gone and done their homework on us.”

Assistant captain Viona Felicia Wandera also says they feel confident after their performance in the Global Tour, and has promised they will battle to try get into medal prospects.

Tough training period 

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The women’s handball team in Tunisia

“It has been a tough training period straight from when we were in Mtwapa until we got here for the global tour, but we are ready for the competition. Playing in the global tour has really helped us and we want to try to do better, which is going for gold,” she said.

Meanwhile, the men, who open the competition against Morocco on Saturday, had their first training session on Friday evening and they say they are ready to contest. Senior player Kelvin Obunga says they want to do better than the first edition in Sal, Cape Verde, in 2019, when they lost all their matches.

“We have confidence, especially looking at how we have prepared. We have been in camp in Buntwani for the last one and a half weeks as a team together and it has helped us work on various aspects of our game. This time, we want to try and do better and even fight for a medal,” he said.

The sprint rowers will be in action early on, and they have been training in Hammamet for the past one week, getting used to the equipment which they say is new to them.

Rowing team upbeat 

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The Kenyan rowing team in action in Hammamet during a trining session

The team is made up of Harrison Malenga and Diana Natecho.

Malenga will be competing in a Kenyan jersey for the first time and he says he is excited, and echoes the coach’s sentiment that they will battle for a medal.

“I am really excited to be competing for Kenya. I have only participated once outside the country when I travelled to South Africa in February, but it was just a friendly tour. The past one week has been really beneficial being here and getting used to everything. At first the waves were too strong for me but now I am used to it. I am ready for a medal fight,” the 24-year old stated.

 

Natecho meanwhile is competing in her second international event, having had prior experience from Namibia last year, but this will be the first time doing sprint beach rowing.

“We are really confident as a team and personally also, I feel ready. It is the first time using such boats but training with them since last week has helped us get used to them and have some confidence as well. We are now ready,” she added.

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