Tough hurdle for beach volleyball teams in race to Paris 2024

Kenyan pair of Gaudencia Makokha and Yvonne Wavinya. [KVF Media]

The New Year is here with us and coaches together with athletes are optimistic and determined of doing better in 2024.

For the women national beach volleyball team, they have no option but to get up to last week’s performance level as they expect a tough year as they try to make their second trip to the Olympic Games later this year.

Despite qualifying for both Africa Games in Ghana and the Africa’s Continental Cup, both women and men beach volleyball teams have a tough task ahead of them on their road to Paris.

Salome Wanjala and Patrick Owino who are in charge of the women and men teams said they need early preparation coupled with competitive friendlies and international exposure.

“I have seen vast improvement from the girls in the past matches but we need to embark on an elaborated training program to perfect all the areas ahead of the Africa Games and the Continental Cup competitions,” said Wanjala in a post interview after the conclusion of last week’s Africa Zone Five beach volleyball championship at the Pride Inn Beach Hotel in Mombasa.

During the Zone V games, Egypt dominated both women and men categories. Kenyan women and men settled for the second and third slots respectively.

The Mombasa event also doubled up as qualifiers for the delayed 2023 Africa Games set for March 8-23 in Accra, Kumasi and Cape Coast in Ghana.

After the Ghana games, Egypt, Kenya and Rwanda will start preparing to represent Zone V at the Continental Cup where the winners in each gender will represent Africa at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

Coach Wanjala said early preparation will be essential for her girls to prepare well for the two coming events.

“We need to be prepared mentally, physically and skillfully. We have come a long way in terms of where we started to where we are now,” said the former Kenyan international.

“My focus is to strengthen the players and work on their weaknesses. Generally, we are on the right road,” added the coach.

For coach Owino, vast improvement and development is needed in his team.

“We need more time to prepare for the task ahead of us so that we can do better in the two Continental competitions,” said Owino.

At the Zone V games, Kenya was represented by Olympian Gaudencia Makokha and Yvonne Wavinya in team A while team B had Sharleen Sembeli and Mercy Iminza.

The men side had Jairus Bett and Elphas Makuto in team A while team B comprised of Brian Melly and Edward Kibet.

Meanwhile the national third leg is slated for January 11-12 at Malabar stadium, Busia. The annual Arthur Odera tournament will also be at the same venue on January 13-14.

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