Malkia Strikers hit top gear at Kasarani bubble training

The national women’s volleyball team Malkia Strikers, who are in bubble training at the Kasarani Indoor Arena, have stepped up preparations for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The nine-time African champions hit camp a fortnight ago with intensive physical and strengthening training aimed at rediscovering the players’ fitness after a lengthy spell of inactivity caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Head coach Paul Bitok said the squad Wednesday kicked off their ball training drills before adopting full-team-system-training next week before jetting out to train in Brazil for a month starting May 1.

“We’ve spent more than 10 days on the fitness area and I’m happy the squad has responded well in the first phase of our programme since we converged for the camp.

“Today (Wednesday) we started the ball handling aspect and if it goes as we’ve planned we will now fully move to general team system training next week,” Bitok told Citizen Digital.

Before the Kenyan lasses fly out for the FIVB-organised training camp in Brazil, they will be handled by four Brazil coaches – seconded by the international volleyball governing body – who will jet in the country on April 15.

“They will be in the country to assess the team and of course help us sharpen our skills before we leave for Brazil where international friendly matches are lined up,” he added.

After the Brazil outing, Malkia Strikers will then head to Turkey in mid June for a ten-day camp and thereafter depart for Kurume City, Japan for the final touches and also acclimatization before heading to the Summer Games primed for July 23 to August 8.

“We’re very determined and nothing is being left to chance on our preparations because we want to hit top form before heading to Japan.

“From Brazil, we will spend few days in Kenya before leaving for Turkey and finally heading to Kurume where NOC-K and the city officials have entered a partnership to allow Kenyan athletes train there three weeks prior to the Games.”

Wacu is back

Meanwhile, Bitok said seasoned setter Jane Wacu, who turns out for Seychelles side Anse Royale (ARSU), will link up with the squad on April 14.

The long-serving setter, who will play her first ever Olympic Games with Malkia Strikers after sitting out on three previous occasions, will battle for a slot in the Tokyo-bound team against KCB’s Immaculate Nekesa and Joy Luseneka of Kenya Prisons.

The veteran, who has enjoyed a decorated 16-year stint with the Malkia Strikers, earlier said she had put her retirement plans on hold, for at least another year, to train her guns for one last swing.

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