It was a good year for Kenyan secondary schools as they recaptured the overall regional team title from Uganda at the Brookside East African Secondary School Games held in Huye, Rwanda.
In spite of losing six ball game finals, Kenya snatched the bragging rights with 27 medals: nine gold,11 silver and seven bronze.
Kenya stamped its authority in hockey as Sinyolo Girls retained the girls’ title, while St Anthony Kitale took the crown from 2014 champions Friend’s School Kamusinga, who never made it past the County.
Kenya’s gold medals also came from unlikely quarters as the girls and boys badminton teams tamed their Ugandan foes to win the title for the first time since the games’ inception.
Kenya also dominated swimming, and won gold in both the girls and boys categories while in tennis the girls won gold and the boys settled for silver.
In athletics, upcoming sprinter Moffat Ngari broke the boys 100m and 200m records as well as helping Kenya win the 4x100m relay gold.
His prowess in the sprints saw him win the best boys athlete’s award at the event while Maximilla Imali, who also excelled in the short distances was awarded in the girls’ category.
David Parisitau also broke the record in the boys’ javelin event whereas Iveen Chepkemoi set a new record in the girls 1500m. Kenya lost the girls’ basketball trophy as Shimba Hills fell to bitter rivals St Mary’s Kitende of Uganda. In the boys’ final, Upper Hill lost 67-79 to Burundi’s ETG Nyakabiga to take silver.
Kwanthanze surrendered the girls’ volleyball title they had held for two years to Rwanda’s GS Indagaburezi as they lost 3-2 in a pulsating final match.
The Rwandans did not stop there as Rusumo beat former champions Malava Boys 3-1 (26-28, 22-25, 25-20, 23-25) to lift the boys’ trophy.
Laiser Hill dominated rugby 15s from the sub-county level all the way to winning the national and East African trophies.
Locally, there were setbacks and new champions were crowned as Passenga surprised many when they bundled out football bigwigs Kisumu Day in the semi-finals.
They then went ahead to beat Laiser Hill 1-0 in the final to be crowned champions. Passenga also made history as the first team from the Aberdare Region (former Central Province) to win the crown since the inception of the games in 1970.
In girls hockey, Trans Nzoia Mixed was another surprise package as they beat Eat Africa champions Sinyolo Girls 1-0 in the final to win the title on their debut at the nationals.
Wiyeta returned with a bang to the nationals after a seven-year absence to win the girls national football title following their 1-0 victory over Kobala and later claimed silver in Rwanda.
Mau Region’s AIC Kosirai upset Kwanthanze 3-2 (25-21, 22-25, 25-18, 15-25, 15-10) in a breathtaking girls’ volleyball final to win their first-ever national title and won bronze in East Africa. Nzoia Region’s Malava retained the boys volleyball title after an echoing 3-0 (25-19, 27-25, 25-18) win over city boys Hospital Hill.
However, success on pitch was tainted by allegations of cheating as some schools were banned from the competition in the national term 2B games that were held in Machakos.
Nzoia’s powerhouses St Anthony and Kakamega High together with St John’s Kaloleni Girls were banned from football competitions.
Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association condemned the vice, blaming it on selfish teachers who do not care about developing the talents of deserving players.
David Ngugi, the KSSSA Secretary General said the association will not allow cheating and will crack the whip on any teacher found guilty.