African Games: Okutoyi rewrites history in Accra

Grand Slam winner Angella Okutoyi during the Billie Jean King cup Africa group III tournament at Nairobi Club. Sunday June 18, 2023. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

At 20 years of age, tennis sensation Angella Okutoyi proved that she was the master of her game, winning gold for Kenya at the African Games in Accra Ghana.

On Thursday, Okutoyi dictated the proceedings at the African showpiece, bagging a singles gold medal in a spectacular fashion.

The title makes Okutoyi the first Kenyan to win a gold medal in that category in the history of African Games.

She defeated Abdelaziz Lamiz of Egypt in a 6-4, 6-2 score and booked her direct ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games set for August.

It was a historic triumph for Okutoyi whose star has been rising.

She won the Wimbledon title for the doubles junior category in 2022.

En route to yesterday’s finals, Okutoyi had overcome a strong challenge from Mayar Sheriff of Egypt in a thrilling semifinal clash, which ended 5-7, 7-5, 7-6.

Lamiz had however staged a resilient fight, breaking Okutoyi's serve in the fourth and fifth games, managing to narrow the margin to 3-2.

Although the Egyptian managed to level the score at 4-4 in the first set, Okutoyi showed he mettle to win the final two games.

The first Kenyan to win a Grand Slam title at Girls’ Juniors Wimbledon event partnering with Rose Marie Nijkamp displayed rare talent, controlling the game from the start to the end - to break yet another ceiling in her beautiful story of the sport.

Currently ranked 532, Okutoyi is looking to continue her rise to stardom at the Paris showdown.

“This is an historic feat. You have made us extremely proud. The last time a Kenyan came close to this feat was 46 years. The whole country is so excited,” Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba told the tennis star from Naivasha.

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