Malkia Strikers break camp as Japan journey starts in earnest

The national women’s volleyball team on Wednesday closed its three-month camp for the Tokyo Olympic Games, ahead of the fourth and final training phase in Kurume City, Japan. Malkia Strikers have been training under a bio-secure bubble at the Kasarani Indoor Arena since March, and they will be the first batch of Team Kenya athletes to fly out Thursday for a two-week camp in Kurume. They kicked off their first phase of their training in March with an intensive physical and strengthening aimed at rediscovering the players’ fitness after a lengthy spell of inactivity caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Head coach Paul Bitok says the squad has hit top form but still believes there is a room for improvement during the final phase of their training which starts on July 10. “We still have around 16 days before the serve off against Japan and that’s a lot of time which will help us adapt the climate in Japan and also fine-tune our skills. We’re planning to have at least one friendly match during our final phase of training and this will help us gauge ourselves because we’ve trained but we haven’t had any test to know how far we’ve reached,” he said. Pitted against volleyball world-beaters -Japan, Serbia, Korea and Dominican Republic- Malkia Strikers will be hoping to buck the trend of dismal showing in the two previous Summer Games appearances-2000 and 2004 Games-where they finished bottom with no single win in both occasions. “The bubble training has really helped us, and especially the coming of the four Brazilian coaches I can say the players will head to Japan with top skills. We hope to perform better compared to the two previous outing. However, Kenyans should trust the process and hope one day we will reach the level of our global opponents,” he added. The nine-time African champions will  jet out out of the country for Japan Thursday 6PM albeit in two batches of six players due to the Covid-19 set protocols. The first group will consist of Emmaculate Chemtai, Gladys Ekaru, Lorine Chebet, Edit Wisa, Paul Bitok, Luis Omar and Catherine Mabwi. Captain Mercy Moim on Friday will lead the other sextuplets of Leonida Kasaya, Noel Murambi, Jane Wacu, Sharon Chepchumba and Pamela Jepkirui. Rugby teams, Kenya Sevens and Kenya Lionesses, will be the second teams to leave the country in four batches with Shujaa set to depart on Friday and Saturday respectively, followed by Lionesses on Sunday and Monday. The full schedule of Team Kenya departures: Departure Date Team 6-Jul-21 CDM Team 8-Jul-21 Volleyball Delegation 1 9-Jul-21 Volleyball Delegation 2 9-Jul-21 Rugby Men Delegation 1 10-Jul-21 Rugby Men Delegation 2 11-Jul-21 Rugby Women Delegation 1 12-Jul-21 Rugby Women Delegation 2 13-Jul-21 Athletics Sprinters Delegation 1 17-Jul-21 Taekwondo, Beach Volleyball 18-Jul-21 Boxing, Volleyball, Swimming 23-Jul Athletics Delegation 2 24-Jul Athletics Delegation 3 25-Jul Athletics Delegation 4 27-Jul Athletics Delegation 5 1-Aug Athletics Delegation 6 31st Jul – 2nd Aug Marathon & Race Walk

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