Malkia Strikers to hit camp in March ahead of Olympics

National women’s volleyball team, Malkia Strikers, will hit the camp next month for the preparations of the rescheduled 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) said on Thursday the nine-time African champions will start their residential training on March 3, five months to the Summer Games kick off in Japan.

Before converging for camp, the Paul Bitok-led squad will undergo mandatory Covid-19 tests starting March 1.

They will then train for 15 days before breaking for the Women’s African Club championship and then resume for the last leg of the Games preparations in April. Malkia Strikers will subsequently head to Karume City in Japan for a three-week camp before the quadrennial event kicks off on July 23 to August 8.

NOC-K and Kurume City officials entered a partnership February last year where Kenyan athletes will train in the city for three weeks prior to the Games.

Captain Mercy Moim welcomed the news saying the five-month training will be enough despite the lengthy spell of inactivity caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We’re ready for the training and we hope to get the necessary support to help us hit top form before the kick off. We’ve not played together as a national team since 2019 and there will be a lot of areas to cover before July,” she said.

The KCB Left Attacker also hailed the financial boost of Sh10 million from the Kenya Charity Sweepstake for Team Kenya as a massive boost in the arm ahead of the start of their residential training.

“Most of the time people say we are going simply because we have won in Africa. This time we have to make a mark because preparation will be a good five months. When a team prepares well, it performs well, which requires funds,” added Moim.

Malkia Strikers clinched the single ticket reserved for the African countries in January last year during the qualifiers held in Cameroon thus ending their 16-year absence from the Summer Games.

Men Club Championship

Meanwhile, the Confederation of African Volleyball (CAVB) Thursday awarded Egypt the hosting rights of the 2021 Men’s African Club Championship.

The annual championship which returns after it was cancelled last year owing to the Covid-19 pandemic will be held from March 31 to April 12 in Cairo.

Kenya will be represented by the 2019 Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) League champions General Service Unit (GSU) and runners up Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).

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