Beach volleyball: Kenya's pair beats Ghana to reach quarters

Kenya's beach volleyball player Gaudencia Makokha in action at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. [Kelly Ayodi]

After a thrilling display against Ghana, Kenya’s women beach volleyball attention has swiftly shifted to today’s quarter-finals of the Commonwealth Games. 

Kenyan girls Gaudencia Makokha and Brackcides Agala defeated Ghana’s pair of Juliana Otcherewaa and Rashaka Katadat 2-1 (16-21, 21-17, 15-12) to advance to the last eight in their maiden appearance in the Club games. 

They are yet to know their opponents in the last eight as the pooling was to be done yesterday after completion of the pool matches. 

It was a great victory for the Salome Wanjala coached team, which lost to the same Ghanaians in the African qualifiers of the Commonwealth Games at Laboma beach 2-1. 

Ghana went ahead to beat Mauritius 2-1 in the finals of the qualifiers to qualify to represent Africa in the Birmingham games. Kenya qualified via their world rankings. 

In the Wednesday’s match, Ghana took the first set 21-16 before the Kenyan pair fought bravely to level with a 21-17 win forcing the match to go for the third and deciding set, which Kenya won 15-12 to advance to the quarters as the best losers in pool A. 

Kenya had lost with identical 2-0 defeats at the hands of New Zealand and Canada. 

“I am excited we are in the quarter-finals. The girls showed positive energy in our crucial and last preliminary match,” said coach Wanjala. 

“This is a major milestone considering that we are playing top world ranked teams. We are ready for the quarter-finals,” added the coach. 

The quarter-finals will be played today with the semi-finals and finals set for tomorrow and Sunday. [Ernest Ndunda] 

She said they played very well against New Zealand especially in the second set before they rallied from behind to win the match, which Kenya should have won. 

“Our attention is now to win the quarter-finals and move on,” said Wanjala. 

Malkia Strikers coach Paul Bitok hailed the beach volleyball team victory. [Ernest Ndunda]