Birmingham — Kenyan badminton player Sammy Sikoyo says he went into the Commonwealth Games with the aim of garnering experience and not necessarily to win.
Sikoyo lost 2-0 in sets of 21-13 and 21-10 to Australian Nathan Tang in a match held on Wednesday afternoon at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre.
He admitted his opponent was the more deserving winner owing to his experience and chance to train consistently in modern facilities.
"Coming into Birmingham, I just wanted to take it one game at a time and just gain experience. I wasn't focused too much on the result. You know the first game is never easy because we have the round of 64, then 32 and so forth. I just wanted to give my best and I really had fun. I enjoyed myself and appreciate it," Sikoyo said.
Sikoyo further rued the minor errors he had made, noting that they had a huge impact on the final result in a game of small margins.
"After the first set, I realised there was nothing special he was doing that I couldn't do. In fact, it was me sabotaging myself through minor errors. I corrected these mistakes and started earning points. The only challenge is the standards here are high and the other players have quick feet," he said.
"For me, I need to work on my fitness; I feel it is not yet at the required level. I was really struggling to keep up and get the points whereas for him it was easy. He has really mastered the footwork and that's what I need to work on," Sikoyo added.
Moreover, he is hopeful his experience in Birmingham will be the start of intensified efforts to grow the game in Kenya.
"In my case, I started residential training three weeks to these games. This is unlike most of our competitors who play badminton as a career and train consistently for the same," he said.
The other Kenyan flying the national flag high at the Club Games is Saumya Gupta.