2019 All African Games hits and misses

Gilbert Kiprotich in Rabat, Morocco

The 12th edition of the African Games came to a close officially on Saturday with Kenya ranking seventh on the continental championships with a total of 31 medals; 11 gold, 10 silver and 10 bronze.

Although the medals may have felled below the total of 32 won in 2015, this year’s performances represented an increase in the gold hauled as Kenya bagged 11 golds four more than those won in 2015.

As teams now heads back home, we now take an insight look into the performance of team Kenya.

Athletics is still the real game

The African Games is a multi-discipline championship that encompasses close to 24 different sports and while Kenya entered teams in 22 different disciplines it is through athletics that the country has remained among the top 10 ranked teams in the tournament.

Actually, to be precise, it is out of the 11 gold medals athletics has provided 10 medals with the other one coming from women volleyball team Malkia Strikers while in total athletics churned out 20 medals.

In fact, it was until the track and field events began that Kenya started climbing on the medal standings with Benjamin Kigen winning the first Kenya’s gold in the men’s 3000m steeplechase.

Other sports that managed to notch either silver and bronze apart from athletics and volleyball are; Taekwondo, Boxing, Swimming, Mountain Cycling and Beach Volleyball.

The highest ranked team in the tournament is Egypt with a record 271 medals (101 gold, 97silver, and 73 bronze) not even could Kenya’s total make a quarter of their gold medals.

Going through the Egypt’s medal breakdown and what you find out is that at least in each discipline they have some medals from Archery or Equestrian.

Back to Kenya, while we did not enter teams in other disciplines, the ones we entered and could not get anything begs a lot of questions; did they have adequate preparations? do they even have the necessary facilities back at home and do we even learn from a championship or we will wait for another four years and enter teams again?

The point is diversification is direly needed and not only rely on athletics and volleyball in a multi-discipline tournament.

Boxing scores big

It was arguably the best performance of Kenya’s boxing team in the Games atleast after a long time.

One silver medal and four bronze medals is a big improvement for the 2015 performance where Kenya bagged only two bronze medals.

Shaffi Hassan Bakari narrowly missed on a gold medal in the men’s flyweight 52kgs Kenya finally bagged a silver after more than a decade.

It is an inspiring performance as the new Boxing Association of Kenya (BAK) leadership led president Anthony Ombok settle in office.

“This is a new beginning for the boxing sport in Kenya. We have just come in and you can see that we are in the right direction,” reflected Ombok.

The attention now shifts to Olympic qualifier matches.

Juniors rise to the occasion

With the World Athletics Championships around the corner, big names in athletics opted out of the Games in order to concentrate on the global showpiece.

The tight Diamond League matches did not do much good either and thus providing young athletes with an opportunity to prove themselves.

Majority did not disappoint in the big stage while some of them went on to defy the odds in their respective disciplines.

The World- under 20 1500m champion Manangoi took top honours in the men’s 1500m as Robert Kiprop ran the rule in the men’s 5000m sweeping the podium alongside fellow junior graduates Edward Zakayo and Richard Kimunyan.

 It was the same script also in the women category as Qaulyne Kiprop won the women’s 1500m with Mary Moraa also shining in 400m.

Malkia strikers regain their Mojo

After a long series of battles with their foes Cameroon, Malkia Strikers finally returned to their best self to beat the West Africans 3-1 on Friday to not only defend their title but also avenge for the agonizing 3-2 defeat in the African Volleyball Championships.