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Players battle for African Paralympic slot

Volleyball and Handball
 Uasin Gishu County and Bungoma County players in action during National Para-volley trials at Gulab Lochab Club in Eldoret. [Peter Ochieng, Standard]

Para-Volleyball teams from 14 counties yesterday battled for top spots at the national trials staged in Eldoret ahead of the naming of the Kenyan team to the African Paralympic Games set for Ghana in September.

The national trials happening at the Gulab Lochab Hall in Eldoret will be used to select a team of 48 sitting volleyball players, 24 men and a similar number of women.

The squad which will be named after today’s finals will be representing the country in the continental para-volleyball contest slated for September 3-12 in Accra.

Uasin Gishu men thrashed Narok 3-0 in their Group C opening match. The hosts easily won the first set 25-6 before Narok played tough in the second and third sets which ended 25-20 and 25-21 respectively.

In Group A, Siaya proved too strong for their Nyanza counterparts Homa Bay, beating them 3-0 (25-15, 25-19 and 25-15) in their opening match.

Kisumu County Para-Volley Club started their opening match with a hard-fought win against Laikipia.

The lakeside men started their campaign with 25-7 in the first set and 25-6 in the second set, but Laikipia launched a come-back in the third set to beat Kisumu 25-23. Kisumu won the fourth set 25-16.

Kisumu coach Len Charles Ndago said his side was in Eldoret for a mission to have a huge number of players in the national team.

“I am looking forward to four of my players making it to the national team. All teams are strong and I can’t certainly say that we will lift the national trophy but my team is raring to go,” Ngago told Standard Sport.

Selected teams will also be representing Kenya at the 2024 Paralympic Games Qualifier in Cairo, Egypt in November.

Like their men counterparts, Uasin Gishu Para-volley women launched a successful campaign as they vie to lift the national trophy today.

They beat Bungoma 3-1, winning the first, second and fourth sets in the tough Group D match yesterday.

“Bungoma was tough and the match was tense in the first set, but we got composed. We were challenged during the opening match but we are the home team and we must fight to lift the national trophy,” Uasin Gishu women Para-Volley captain Beatrice Cherop said.

Bungoma had hammered Trans Nzoia 3 sets to one in Group D while Kisumu defeated Narok 3-0 in Group A.

In the women’s Group B, Nairobi humbled Vihiga 3-0 (25-12, 25-6 and 25-18) as Homa Bay came from one set down to beat Mombasa 3-1.

Paravolley Federation of Kenya Secretary General Justus Katumo said a qualified selection team had been picked to select a strong squad for the Accra clash.

Katumo said the federation will take to Ghana a squad that will face strong African Para-Volley giants such as Egypt and Rwanda.

“We are looking at the players’ age, experience, skill and readiness to take training instructions among other qualities. We want a squad that will not be going to Ghana merely for a trip,” said Katumo.

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