Kenyan swimmers shine in Zambia, bag five gold
By Ernest Ndunda
Kenyan swimmers were the darling of the crowd in Lusaka, Zambia on Friday after they bagged five gold medals as the Cana Zone Three and Four African Swimming Championships entered its second day at Lusaka Olympic swimming pool.
National record breaker Hamdan Bayusuf, Micah Fernandes and Maria Brunlehner bagged three gold medals as Kenya’s two Medley relays teams also bagged two gold medals to their credit.
Bayusuf of Mombasa picked a gold medal in the boys under 17 years 100m backstroke after he clocked one minute 01.23 seconds.
Kenya’s Micah Fernandes also won Kenya another gold medal in the boys’ 15/16 50m backstroke after timing 31.31 beating another Kenyan and Mombasa-based swimmer Tory Pragassa to the silver bracket with a time of 31.93 seconds.
Mombasa’s Maria Brunlehner was the only girl on Thursday to win Kenya gold. She timed 36.02 seconds to win the girls 13/14 50m backstroke.
Brunlehner, 13, was closely followed by Angola’s Maria Cipcic, 14, who timed 37.15. Another Kenyan, Coral Hays, 14, settled for bronze after clocking 37.31.
Kenya’s 200m Medley Relay of the 14-year-olds won gold after they swum 2:12.30 seconds. Another Kenyan Medley Relay team in the 15 years and above in the same race won gold with a time of 1.51.25.
Kenya settled for the second position after the conclusion of the first day events with 410 points, while Zimbabwe led with 423.50 points. Botswana were third with 388 points.
The championships continued today with the finals set for tomorrow. Ten nations are competing in the gala.
And speaking earlier at the official opening, Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili urged the Zambian swimmers to aim high and win medals for the country, saying the Government would monitor the swimmers closely and would award the achievers with monetary incentives.
He added that the Government would be motivated to consider building another Olympic size swimming pool on the Copperbelt depending on the performance from the CANA championship.
“The swimmers that will win medals will be awarded with cash prizes, and Government will be monitoring closely the proceedings of the gala and if the swimmers impress with good results it will motivate Government to build another pool on the Copperbelt,” Kambwili said.
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