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Kenya swimmers bank on experience
to win medals at Africa Youth Games

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- German-based Kenyan, Maria Brunlehner, is among the four swimmers who have been selected to represent the country at the Africa Youth Championship in Algiers from July 17-27.

The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) cut down the number of swimmers heading to tournament from the initial 12 to just four.

NOCK cited financial constraints as the reason they are trimming down the number, even as the country seeks to improve on its seventh place finish during the last games in Botswana four years ago.

The event will be used as a continental qualifier for the Olympic Youth Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Oct. 1-6.

“The former Mombasa-based athlete will compete in three events, 50/100m freestyle, 200m individual medley and 50m breast stroke,” said NOCK in a statement.

NOCK noted that the selection was based on merit and recent rankings by the global swimming body FINA. “Maria, who made her debut at the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast [in] Australia, is currently the top FINA ranked Kenyan female swimmer with 758 points,” NOCK said.

Retired rugby player Humphrey Kayange has been named the team Chef de Mission and hopes the games will inspire the young athletes to focus more on improving and developing their careers in sports.

South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria have dominated the games since their debut in 2010 in Morocco.

Swimming head coach Fakry Mansoor hopes to end their medal jinx at the event.

The Africa Youth Games athletes have to be younger than 17. The swimming team has pitched camp in Mombasa and includes Maria Brunlehner, Kira Gheheb, Lucia Ruchti, Jasmin Kimani, Danilo Rosafio, Ridwan Abubaker, Nobby Obuya and Swaleh Talib.

“Maria has some experience, which we hope will help her win medals in Algiers. We believe the experience she gained from the Commonwealth Games will be an added advantage,” said Mansoor.

Morocco hosted the inaugural edition in 2010 with 40 countries represented by 1,008 athletes participating in 16 sports. The second tournament took place in Botswana in 2014 where 54 countries came together to field 2,500 athletes in 20 disciplines.

After the Algiers games, the 2022 edition will be in Antananarivo in Madagascar. 



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