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TOKYO TICKET BOOKED

Malkia strikers make a return to Olympic Games after 15 years

In Summary

• Kenya makes a return to the most coveted sports carnival after missing out on the Beiging 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016 editions.

• Kenya won in sets of (25-15, 25-21 and 25-12) in their last qualification match this evening in Yaounde, Cameroon.

Malkia Strikers celebrate after beating arch rivals Cameroon on Tuesday night in Yaounde in the Africa Olympic qualifying tournament.
Malkia Strikers celebrate after beating arch rivals Cameroon on Tuesday night in Yaounde in the Africa Olympic qualifying tournament.
Image: COURTESY

Kenya women’s volleyball team ‘Malkia Strikers’ secured their ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games after thrashing Nigeria 3-0.

Kenya won in sets of (25-15, 25-21 and 25-12) in their last qualification match this evening in Yaounde, Cameroon.

Kenya makes a return to the summer games after 15 years of absence, having missed out on the most coveted sports carnival in  Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016 editions.

In the opening set, Kenya outclassed the West Africans taking a 3-1 and 8-2 lead at the first technical timeout (TTO). Bitok’s charges widened the gap to eight points at the second TTO (16-8) and then 20-11 before sealing a 25-15 win.

 

Nigeria regrouped in the second set and gave Kenya a run for their money. The neck-to-neck affair saw Nigeria grab a 7-8 advantage but the hard-hitting East Africans rebounded to take a 12-9, 16-13 and 20-18 lead.

Nigeria came too close (21-20) but Malkia Strikers took off to a 23-21 advantage before securing the set in their bag with a 25-21 win.

The third and the ultimate set started on a high note with an 8-5 advantage for Kenya who continued to lead 12-7, 16-9 and 21-9 before winning 25-12 and run away with three points together with Olympic ticket.

Earlier in the tournament, Malkia Strikers had opened their account in the qualification tournament by bouncing from one set shortfall to defeat Egypt 3-1 (23-25, 25-15, 25-21, 25-22) on Sunday evening. Egypt, the only North African side in the tournament lined up new and youthful players.

The following day Bitok’s charges hammered Botswana in straight sets of 25-17, 25-19 and 25-18 before facing their ultimate equals Cameroon in a five-set thriller on Tuesday. Kenya humbled Cameroon Lionesses 3-2 (25-16, 23-25, 25-21, 23-25, 15-11) to remain unbeaten.