Kenya: All-Women's Day as Team Kenya Back in Action

Tokyo — It's Kenyan women's day here on Thursday.

Team Kenya is in action on three fronts - rugby, beach volleyball and volleyball - and all of them being women's tournaments.

Incidentally, for the first time, if my archives serve me right, Kenya has sent a delegation to the Olympics with more female competitors than male.

Of the squad of 87 athletes in Team Kenya here, 49 are women and 38 men.

Armchair critics will certainly pop out of the woodwork when Kenya's women's sevens team fails to make the medals at these Games.

They will use all sorts of expressions to deride the Lionesses and charge that they didn't deserve the ticket to Tokyo.

However, win or lose, the Lionesses have endured great test of character, mental torture for no fault of their own.

Strict Covid-19 control regulations here stipulate that anyone in close proximity of a Covid-19 positive case be quarantined for 14 days.

Now, when the second batch of the Lionesses squad landed in Tokyo, they had no idea that a passenger in their flight was positive.

The six players were subsequently quarantined in Tokyo and couldn't link up with their seven teammates at Team Kenya's Kurume City pre-Games camp.

Images of the six, led by assistant captain Sheila Chanjira, training in hotel corridors and in their rooms to stay fit went viral.

Besides Chanjira, team manager Camilyne Oyuayo and strength and conditioning coach Samuel Kimothi, others in the squad are Diana Awino, Vivian Akumu, Leah Wambui, Judith Auma and Stella Nelima.

The team in Kurume had head coach Felix Oloo and seven players, namely Philadelphia Olando (captain), Cynthia Camilla, Christabel Lindo, Grace Adhiambo, Sinaida Aura, Janet Okello and Sarah Bridgid Oluche.

On Thursday, they come up a powerful New Zealand side in Pool 'A' at the National Stadium, hoping to make a huge impact.

"The support from everyone at home, including our lovely Cabinet Secretary (Sports) who is also our patron has given us a lot of strength," team manager Oyuayo said.

"We assured Kenyans that we will put our best foot forward and nothing will stop us from putting our best foot forward."

After taking on the Kiwis, Lionesses target Russia.

In the court, Malkia Strikers and Kenya's beach volleyball team face must-win matches after losing their preliminary round fixtures.

The Kenyan women have been improving steadily as they gain more exposure and match practice.

Their slim, last-set loss over the Koreans served to inspire upcoming volleyball stars that anything is possible.

A similar mission awaits the women's beach volleyball team of Brackcides Agala and Gaudencia Makokha who take on Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponsil of USA.

This coming after they lost in their opening match to Brazil.

Team Kenya events Thursday:

Beach Volleyball (At Shiokaze Arena):

Kenya (Brackcides Agala/ Gaudencia Makokha) vs USA (Kelly Claes/ Sarah Sponsil) - 3am

Women's sevens rugby:

Pool 'A' - Kenyan times (at Tokyo Stadium):

Kenya vs New Zealand - 05.30am;

Kenya vs Russia - 1pm;

Volleyball (At Ariake Arena):

Kenya vs Serbia - 8.20am

Friday:

Swimming (At Tokyo Aquatics Centre):

50 metres freestyle (Emily Muteti) - 1.34pm;

Athletics (At Tokyo Stadium):

Morning session (3am-7.05am);

Evening session (1pm-3pm);

Women's sevens rugby:

Pool 'A' - Kenyan times (at Tokyo Stadium):

Kenya vs Great B - 5am;

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