Three Kenyans booked tickets to represent the Eastern Africa region in the upcoming African Junior Championships set for March in South Africa.
The three—Ryan Randiek, Angela Okutoyi and Jayson Mbogoro—won their respective regional final matches yesterday at Nairobi Club to grab the much fancied slots in the continental finals.
The 16 and under boys top seed, Ryan Randiek, extended his dominance on Seychelles national Damien Laporte, beating him 6-4,6-2 to secure a place for Cape Town show. Randiek beat Laporte win the 2016 edition before retiring with an injury in last year’s edition. Yesterday, the home boy overcame resistance form his opponent to advance to the continental show.
Randiek took a convincing 3-0 lead from the opening three games of the first set before relinquishing the fourth and fifth game to Laporte for a 3-2 score line. Randiek clinched the subsequent two games for 5-2 lead but his lead was cut down to a game after Laporte bagged a double to make it 5-4. However, it was the home boy who had the last laugh in the tenth game of the set to claim the first set.
In the second set, Randiek conceded a paltry two games to send the Seychelles national packing and consequently received the baton to represent his region in the continental show. He said: “I am elated to be back in the African Junior Championships again and this time round, I will aim to be crowned the best. It was a tough game today considering that I have played Laporte before and he understood my tactics well. Basically, I am happy to have amassed more than 30 points in the Confederation of African Tennis and I am confident of better ranking continentally.”
In the girls’ Under-14 finals, Roselida Asumwa found the going tough at the hands of her twin sister Angela Okutoyi, who floored her 6-2,6-0 to proceed to the African Championship.
The experienced Okutoyi had an easy outing, dropping two games to her sister who could not match the class of her sibling. Okutoyi said: “ I am perplexed that I managed to qualify for the African Junior Championships and at the same time sorry for my sister. It’s the nature of the game. One had to be out and it’s unfortunate that it had to be her. I have to keep training for the continental event which brings the best from each region.”
The boys U-14 age set will be represented by Jayson Mbogoro, who overpowered his Kenyan counterpart Kael Shah 6-2, 6-4. The United States-based Mbogoro expressed his delight after reaching the African finals. “I am happy to qualify for the continental task which will help me gain experience as well as help me bridge to the U-16 age group.”
Burundi’s Aisha Niyonkuru will carry the region’s hopes in the girls’ U-16 bracket. Niyonkuru emerged the best in the final, beating her counterpart Hoziane Kitambala 6-2,6-1.
Meanwhile the East Africa Davis Cup for boys in the U-16 age set will kick off today at Nairobi Club where Kenya will be represented by Randiek, Derrick Ominde and Suhail Hooker.The boys’ U-14 World Junior team will be represented by Jayson Mbogoro, Kael Shah and Brandon Sagala. In the girls U-16 team for the Fed Cup will have Sheha Kotecha, Angela Okutoyi and Claire Muthoni while the U-14 team will be led by Roselida Asumwa, Cynthia Cheruto and Alicia Owegi.