Pomp, colour as triumphant Malkia Strikers jet back

National women’s volleyball team Malkia Strikers, jetted back to a heroic reception at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Friday evening, a day after clinching the 2020 Olympics Games ticket in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

At hand to receive the gallant Kenyan queens was Sports Principal Secretary Kirimi Kaberia accompanied by National Olympic Committee of Kenya (Nock) first Vice-President Shadrack Maluki and Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) boss Waithaka Kioni.

Kaberia paid glowing tribute to Malkia Strikers for their tireless effort and dedication that saw Kenya grab the sole Summer Games ticket reserved for African countries thus ending a 16-year wait.

“We are very happy for this team for putting Kenya on the Africa’s map as the top dog in the sport. This is a great achievement putting in mind that the last time Kenya featured at the championship was in 2004,” he said.

The PS also reaffirmed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s assurance of continued support to the team as they prepare for the Summer Games primed for July 24– August 9.

“We are committed to ensure the team receive the best preparation ahead of the event because we don’t want to go to Japan to just participate. Every member of the squad will get his or her allowances because we want athletes to have a sense of pride when representing the country at international events,” he added.

KVF chief Kioni who is also the team Kenya’s Chef de Mission for the multi-sport event, hailed his charges performance while at the same time assuring the team befitting preparations ahead of the Games.

“We will ensure the team and all other teams which qualify to represent Kenya, get the best preparations ahead of the championship because we are committed to ensure all the teams give Kenyans glory in Japan,” he said.

The nine-time African champions last featured at the 2000 Sydney and the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and now join Kenya Sevens and Kenya Lionesses as the only team sports that will represent Kenya at Tokyo 2020.

The Kenya Airways plane carrying the Kenyan queens and a number of officials touched down shortly before 6:45pm.