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Kenya Federation selects teams for three global judo events

By Ben Ochieng NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya on Friday named three teams to represent the East African nation in different global judo events this year.

The Kenya Judo Federation (KJF) held the national championships in July when the teams to represent the nation at three world events were selected.

The federation selected the senior team to the World Championships slated for Aug. 28 to Sept. 3; the International Judo Federation (IJF) World Cadets Championships in Santiago, Chile scheduled for Aug. 10-18; and the World Junior Championship in Zagreb, Croatia later in October.

The cadets, who are players from the ages of 15 to 17 years will be first to do duty for the country and will consist of budding talents including David Kiarie, Peter Kamau, Bernard Mulewa and Ken Nderitu in the boys category while girls category are Lydia Wangui, Elizabeth Ruguru, Hellen Okwisa and Ann Wairimu.

A team of 14 judokas will represent the country at the International Judo Federation (IJF) World Championships scheduled for August in Budapest, Hungary.

The team will aim to improve on the last performance held in 2015 in Astana, Kazakhstan where Kenya only managed to have a tenth finisher in Isaac Kinyanjui in the under 73kg category.

Johnson Mwadime, KJA Secretary General, said the federation has put in place plans to have the national senior team put up training camps in Tokyo, and Lisbon, for the cadets ahead of their international assignments to ensure they are adequately prepared for duty.

"We have a pool of good players and the standards of the game are on the rise.

"We are focused on bagging medals this year," Mwadime said.

"We will give the best preparations to our teams.

"We have the backing of IJF and the goodwill from friends in Japan and Portugal and our players will for once have proper preparations," Mwadime added.

He noted that at the last event in Kazakhstan, female players Alice Chebet) and Diana Kana put up impressive shows despite being knocked out at the preliminary stages but their personal performances earned then wild cards and will be key to Kenya’s medal prospects in Budapest after they easily dominated at the national championships.

The junior teams which bring together players in the 18 to 20 years age bracket will be the last to do duty for the country in October with Carlos Ochieng, Peterson Gathiru, Geoffrey Muchai and Isaac Likavuti representing the country in the boys category.

In the girls’ category, Hannah Wanjiku, Margaret Njeri and Jacinta Kembua will lead Kenya’s charge as KJF seeks to have more qualifiers at the upcoming junior championships to bring the number to at least seven girls and seven boys.

KJF President, Shadrack Maluki, told Xinhua that the national teams will for the first time in residential training camps as opposed to previous years where teams were subjected to train at their individual clubs ahead of national duties before heading to the Japanese and Portuguese camps in a bid that is aimed at ensuring talent is natured in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.



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