Kenya’s Tokyo Olympics medal drought set to end as track and field duels start

The Tokyo Olympics have gotten to roughly the mid-way stage, and it has been a week of disappointing performances as results from the Kenyan Olympians on show.

Thankfully, the track and field games begin tomorrow, Friday July 21, and I hope that we can finally hear the beautiful Kenyan anthem blaring out from the podium.

The biggest disappointment for me has been the Kenyan men rugby sevens team. Pooled with USA, South Africa and Ireland, Shujaa couldn’t manage a single win in such a fairly manageable group.

Kenya lost her first match 19-14 to USA before being outfought by South Africa 14-5 and later Ireland 12-7.

However, Kenya’s men rugby team has restored some pride by beating Japan and finishing ninth in the final standings.

In boxing, Kenya’s hit squad lost their bouts. Nicholas Okong’o, however, gave a superb showing against Mongolian Erdenebat Tsendbaatar in a game I left feeling the 38-year-old won.

However, the judges thought otherwise and awarded the Mongolian a 3-2 win. It was a result that left a bitter taste in my mouth. However, Nicholas, who is the hit squad captain, performed well against his young opponent.

Kenya’s sole Taekwondo participant Faith Ogolla also lost her bout against Serbian Mandic Millica. Faith, who is a new entrant in the sport, could get better in future, having picked up taekwondo barely two years ago after switching from basketball.

Kenya’s women rugby sevens side, the Lionesses, have made a good account of themselves in their first Olympics outing. They lost to New Zealand, 29-7 and Russia 35-12 and have a game against Great Britain tomorrow.

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Kenya’s women indoors volleyball team has given a good showing, despite losing all their matches. They lost 3-0 to Japan, 3-0 to South Korea, and 3-0 to Serbia. A lot of the matches have been quite close, but it’s clear there’s a gap in quality on show. I have been very impressed by Sharon Chepchumba, whose spikes and powerful shots have kept Kenya very much in game. She is clearly the best volleyball player in the squad and she has done the country proud.

Kenya’s female beach volleyball team has also lost all its matches to Brazil and USA, however, they get a pass from me because it is their first foray in the Olympics and just by participating, they have made history. Gaudencia Makokha and Brackcides Khadambi will come from this experience wiser.

Kenya’s lone swimming entrant Rosafio Danilo, 18, won his heats in the men’s 100 metres freestyle, a great performance that means he is still in contention for medals.

You can also check out the full list of Kenyan results here on the official Olympics website.

Tomorrow, the athletics participants get to restore wounded Kenyan pride. The men’s steeplechase team perform in heats at 3.30am Kenyan time, while the women’s 800 metres heats, women’s 5000 metres heats, men’s high jump qualification and men’s 10,000 metres final race are all taking place tomorrow. Check out this packed schedule here on the official website.

The Olympics have been very exciting and I have enjoyed cheering for the Kenyan teams. The competition is not yet over, and I am still hopeful that Kenya can win at about five gold medals.

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