Okutoyi: Kenya’s Grand Slam sensation jet out for a five-week competition in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia

Kenya's Angela Okutoyi in action during 2022 Australian Junior Open Championship at Melbourne Park, Australia. [Australian Open]

National Olympics Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) on Thursday presented 18-year-old junior professional tennis player Angela Okutoyi with flight tickets and kits as she heads to a five-week tournament that starts on Friday in Morocco then Tunisia and finally Egypt.

The three tournaments will be significant as she puts the remaining Grand Slam contests in her cross hairs.

They include French Open (May), Wimbledon (June) and the US Open in September.

“We are delighted to have Angela. Her career has been on an upward trajectory and we are looking forward to seeing what more she will achieve. She has an exceptional career ahead,” said NOC-K Athlete Representative Humphrey Kayange.

Okutoyi has gone ahead to break barriers and make history to become the second woman in Kenya to play in the Grand Slam after Judy Wakhungu and the first woman in Kenya to win a junior Grand Slam match. The reigning African 18 and Under Junior Champion is ranked 57th in the World in the ITF Junior ranking with a career high of 53.

“I would like to thank the National Olympic Committee for financing the coach and I with tickets and fully kitting us as I head to the tournaments,” says Okutoyi, who clinched three ITF World Tennis Tour Junior titles last year.

“My last week will be in Tunisia. I am excited but I have a goal –to defend my title as African champion. My vision is clear,” she added.

Kayange, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athlete Commission member, expounded on the IOC’s focus in supporting athletes included in the NOC-K legacy plan. “NOC-K is looking to diversify sports in order to increase our representation in Paris 2024 and in Dakar Youth Olympic Games 2026. We are delighted to support and champion Angela through Tennis Kenya.”

On the journey towards Paris 2024, NOC-K will be supporting individuals and teams to assist them qualify and train well towards the games. Okutoyi will hopefully be among other individual sports athletes to benefit from the athletes scholarships of the Olympic Solidarity Program. The Olympic Scholarship will fund her monthly training and competition expenses across the 2022-2024 period.