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Kenyan hockey hopeful of Olympic qualification

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan boys’ hockey team will be ready to battle for qualification to the 2020 Olympics against giants South Africa and Egypt.

Wycliffe Momanyi, Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) Secretary General, says the country’s vibrant youth system will stand the test of time and help them present a strong team at the Africa Games, which will be held in October 2019 in Casablanca, Morocco.

The Africa Games will serve as the qualifiers for the Tokyo Olympics and Momanyi is adamant Kenya will clinch the single slot reserved for the continent.

“There are top teams like South Africa and Egypt, who have dominated the African hockey scene. But you can never rule us out. This youthful team showed their ability when they ruffled feathers at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires and they are ready to step up and raise Kenya’s flag high at the Olympics,” Momanyi said on Friday in Nairobi.

Momanyi underscored the need to compete at the highest level as a motivating factor for the growth of the sport, adding that the future of the game lies in the youth.

“We are keen to build our team from the youths who represented us in Argentina. If we managed to qualify for the Youth Olympics then it means with a little help from sponsors and government, we will conquer Africa and make it to the Olympics,” he added.

Momanyi believes the easiest process to make the trip to Tokyo 2020 will be through the Africa Games in 2019. “The continental games will offer Kenya the easiest route. We intend to explore this path and [we are] hopeful [that we will] have our team back at the Olympics after over two decades,” he added.



Kenya Davis Cup preparations remain doubtful

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- A lack of funds threatens Kenya’s preparations for the Euro/ Africa Davis Cup Group Two championship that kicks off in February 2019 in Europe.

James Kenani, Tennis Kenya president, says the government is slowing down efforts to raise 80,000 U.S. dollars for the six-member team to travel to South Africa, Egypt and Botswana for build-up matches prior to heading to Europe for the 18-team Group Two qualifiers.

“It is important that we have good preparations and present a strong team at the Davis Cup to earn promotion to Group One or retain our place in Group Two. The tour will give our players an edge before the competition,” said Kenani.

Tennis Kenya officials however have not given up hope of sending the team to high performance training camps in South Africa, Egypt and Botswana.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) says the Davis Cup will culminate in an intriguing 18-team final event to be staged at a venue in Europe in December next year.

However, teams in different groups will first have to go through qualification fixtures starting in February. The 118-year-old Davis Cup has recently received a re-branding into a ‘World Cup’ of tennis format.

The new venture will certainly not favor the majority of African teams and several emerging teams from eastern Europe, who have found a niche in the competition.


Kenya to invest on sports people with disabilities to improve performance

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya will put in more money towards sportsmen and women with disabilities who represent the country at international events in order to improve performance, a government official said on Friday.

Josephta Mukobe, principal secretary for heritage in the ministry of sports, culture and arts, said the sufferings that the sportspeople have undergone will be a thing of the past and they should instead brace themselves for an improved future.

“There is always a new beginning. There is nothing we can do about the past except to learn from it with the view of doing things differently in future,” Mukobe said during a panel discussion at Kenya International Sports Film Festival in Nairobi.

Sports people with disability in Kenya have in the past complained of being discriminated against and that they have to fight hard before they are accorded what is rightfully theirs, unlike their able-bodied counterparts for whom everything is usually smooth-sailing.

The most recent case is the national amputee football team that represented the country during this year’s Amputee Football World Cup held in Mexico that endured harrowing experiences before, during and after the championships, which elicited an outcry from a section of Kenyans.

The team traveled to the Latin American nation without official playing kit, allowances and insurance cover and upon return, they staged a sleep-over at the ministry of sports headquarters demanding their stipend.

It took the intervention of the senate committee that oversees matters pertaining to sports for members of the team to be paid their allowances.

Mukobe said the disadvantaged athletes will receive the same treatment and privileges as their normal colleagues.

“We will open training facilities for them, pay them emoluments while in residential camps and offer them all the comfort necessary for them to register good results during global competitions.



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