Kinyamal, Kiyeng, Cheruiyot triumphant in Rome

Three Kenyans were among the winners of the 2018 Rome golden gala at the Olympic stadium in Rome on Friday May 31. The meet is part of the Diamond League. Two of the Kenyans recorded world leading times.

Kiyeng returns to form

2015 world champion, Hyvin Kiyeng, is on her way back to the summit of the women’s 3000m steeplechase. She proved this by winning the race in 9:04.96, a world leading time. 19 year old compatriot Cellphine Chespol was second. It was a dramatic race in which Kiyeng, Chespol and American Emma Coburn were neck and neck at the last water jump. Coburn then slipped and almost fell.In the process she lost her steam and Norah Jeruto also passed her, thus assuring a Kenya 1-2-3 finish.

Beatrice Chepkoech who won at the Pre-Fontaine classc was 5th. Surprise Commonwealth games gold medalist, Aisha Praught of Jamaica was 8th.

Race Video


1 Hyvin Kiyeng KEN 9:04.96 8
2 Celliphine Chepteek Chespol KEN 9:05.14 7
3 Norah Jeruto KEN 9:07.17 6
4 Emma Coburn 9:08.13 5
5 Beatrice Chepkoech KEN 9:15.85 4
6 Winfred Mutile Yavi BRN 9:16.36 3
7 Daisy Jepkemei  KEN 9:18.44 2
8 Aisha Praught JAM 9:19.33 1
9 Luiza Gega ALB 9:22.00
10 Habiba Ghribi TUN 9:31.36
11 Purity Kirui KEN 9:31.96
12 Rosie Clarke GBR 9:32.08
13 Ophélie Claude-Boxberger FRA 9:34.43
14 Gesa Felicitas Krause GER 9:39.52
15 Tugba Güvenc TUR 9:39.68
16 María José Pérez ESP 9:43.48
17 Irene Sánchez-Escribano ESP 9:44.48
18 Fadwa Sidi Madane MAR 9:46.10
19 Birtukan Adamu ETH 9:55.77


Kinyamal wins with late surge

Wycliff Kinyamal, Kenya’s new 800m sensation, won his second ever Diamond League race. It took another late surge to win with Kinyamal taking over the lead from compatriot Jonathan Kitilit with 20 metres to go. Kitilit had a significant lead with 100m to go before Kinyamal started to narrow the lead.

Ferguson Rotich, another runner known for late surges, ran down Kitilit and passed him at the finish line to finish second. Kitilit finished 3rd for a Kenya 1-2-3

Race Video


1 Wyclife Kinyamal  KEN 1:44.65 8
2 Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich  KEN 1:44.74 7
3 Jonathan Kitilit  KEN 1:44.78 6
4 Brandon McBride  CAN 1:44.99 5
5 Amel Tuka  BIH 1:45.68 4
6 Álvaro De Arriba  ESP 1:46.16 3
7 Adam Kszczot  POL 1:46.23 2
8 Kipyegon Bett  KEN 1:46.93 1


Cheruiyot with another masterful display

In the 1500m, Timothy Cheruiyot appears invincible in 2018. It is largely due to his new tactic of attacking accelerating with 400m to go, to take advantage of his superior endurance. In the past, he tried to win the race in the last 100m, something which played into the hands of Elijah Manangoi who has a superior finishing kick.

In this race, Cheruiyot left the rest of the field for dead with 400m to go. Manangoi finished second ahead of Ethiopian Samuel Tefera who was 3rd. Ayanleh Souleiman who has been a major challenger in past years, appears far from his best this season. He finished a distant 4th.

Race Video


1 Timothy Cheruiyot  KEN 3:31.22 8
2 Elijah Motonei Manangoi  KEN 3:33.79 7
3 Samuel Tefera  ETH 3:34.84 6
4 Ayanleh Souleiman  DJI 3:34.87 5
5 Charles Cheboi Simotwo  KEN 3:35.03 4
6 Charles Da’Vall Grice  GBR 3:35.72 3
7 Taresa Tolosa  ETH 3:36.22 2
8 Aman Wote  ETH 3:36.30 1
9 Chris O’Hare  GBR 3:36.47
10 Mohad Abdikadar Sheik Ali  ITA 3:36.54
11 Yemaneberhan Crippa  ITA 3:38.22
12 Ryan Gregson  AUS 3:38.85
13 Adel Mechaal  ESP 3:39.14
14 George Meitamei Manangoi  KEN 3:41.75
15 Silas Kiplagat  KEN 3:41.78

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Kenya women’s rugby 7s win Africa cup outscoring opponents 181-12

Kenya players celebrate after winning the 2018 Africa rugby sevens tournament. Kenya’s first ever cup

The Kenya women’s national rugby sevens team, won the 2018 Africa cup. It marked the first time Kenya won this tournament after being losing finalists four times. The tournament was held in Gaborone Botswana during the weekend of May 26 to May 27. Kenya won in Grand Style outscoring opponents 181 points to 12.

Kenya were peerless throughout, overwhelming opponents with both basic execution and spectacular plays. On offence, Kenya’s play was fluid, putting swinging the ball wide and finding their speedsters on each flank. Sinaida Omondi in particular had an extra gear that none of the opponents could match. She ran around opponents with lightning quickness.

At centre, Janet Okello was a joy to watch. What makes her special is her sidesteps which are breathtaking and her ability suddenly change direction and to run at full speed, stop suddenly and take off again at full speed which leaves her opponents in sixes and sevens.

Veteran Philadelphia Olando is also deceptively fast and with her larger frame, she is difficult to stop. Support play was another area where Kenya excelled with Cynthia Atieno, Grace Adhiambo and Linet Moraa, another newcomer excelling.

But it was not just on offence where Kenya excelled. They also put in solid tackles throughout, tackling low and also putting in big hits.The tackles are impressive when you consider that many of these ladies only took up rugby recently. In fact their defence is better than what the Kenya men’s sevens team offered say around 2004 and before.

Their situational awareness was top notch as was their play at breakdowns which was aggressive and on point.

Kenya’s Results

Group Stage

Kenya 41 – Senegal 0
Kenya 42 – Madagascar 0

Cup Quarter-Finals: Kenya 42 – Zambia 5
Cup Semi-Finals: Kenya 27 – Madagascar 0
Cup Final: Kenya 29 – Uganda 7

Final Standings

Achieving great things against the odds.

Linet Moraa and Sinaida Omondi lead the players out of the tunnel for the final

Kenya’s performance is impressive when you consider how little support these ladies get. To begin with, unlike sports like basketball and hockey, there aren’t any corporations that run women’s teams. As such opportunities to play are limited.

Also due to lack of corporate support, many Kenyan lady rugby players often have to dig into their own pockets to play and also make huge sacrifices and travel significant distances to play.

And unlike other sports, girls rugby is hardly offered at any girls schools. There is no school’s competition. As a result, many of the ladies play rugby for the first time ever when they leave secondary school.

Financial support from the Union is often not forthcoming. In fact Kenya has often missed out on tournaments like the Dubai sevens due to lack of finances.

Despite all this, the Kenyan ladies have aqcuitted themselves really well and have now won the African championships for the first time ever

Kenya has improved significantly and are headed for bigger things.

Skipper Philadelphia Olando receives the Cup

To appreciate how well Kenya did in Gaborone, one need only look at how far Kenya has come. The Africa women’s rugby sevens tournament has been held since 2006. Kenya lost to Uganda in the semi-finals in both 2006 and 2007, losing 22-17 and 14-0 respectively.  In 2013, they beat Kenya 12-0 in the third place playoff

Another team that always had the upper hand over Kenya was Tunisia. They beat Kenya in the 2012 tournament final 14-10

South Africa is the one team that historically has completely dominated Kenya. The South Africa youth team beat Kenya in both 2006 and 2007. Kenya also lost in the 2008 semis to South Africa  by a score of 29-5 and in 2013 by a score of 36-0. In 2014 Kenya hosted the tournament in Machakos  and lost 15-0 to South Africa in the finals. In 2015, the tourney was held in South Africa and the hosts beat Kenya 31-5 in the final.

It was in 2016 that Kenya started to close the gap on South Africa. They lost the 2016 final 22-17 and again in 2017 by a score of 17-12

Kenya recorded their first ever win over South Africa at the qualifier for the 2018–19 World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series. They beat them 24-12 in the group stage. They went on to top group X with a 40-0 win over Mexico and a 17-5 win over Papua New Guinea. In the knockout stage, Kenya beat Argentina 17-12 before unfortunately losing to South Africa 12-7 in extra time.

The girls just need more support

Kenya rugby ladies have basically closed the gap on South Africa and are now in the overtaking lane. All they now need is additional support from Corporations to offer financial support to the teams and possibly employment opportunities for players. In addition, the KSSA should work hard at introducing the sport at school and University level so that the girls can start learning the fundamentals earlier.


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Kigen, Korir and Cheruiyot brilliant in Eugene

Kenya keeps unearthing new talents. Just when fans thought there was going to be a shortage of world beating steeplechasers, a new one has emerged in Benjamin Kigen. Meanwhile Emannuel Korir proved that he is still the man to beat in the 800m, winning a very close race against Nijel Amos of Botswana. Timothy Cheruiyot was peerless in the mile, finishing well ahead of all comers.

Emmanuel Korir survives near fall to edge Amos in the 800m

With 200m to go, Emmanuel Korir got his legs tangled with Nijel Amos, he tripped and almost fell. In the process he dropped into fourth place and Amos established what looked like an unassailable lead. But Korir came back from several metres behind to beat Amos in the last 30 metres. Korir is now the man to beat in the 800m this season.

Race Video

Race Results

1 Emmanuel Kipkurui Korir  KEN 1:45.16
2 Nijel Amos  BOT 1:45.51
3 Wyclife Kinyamal  KEN 1:46.14
4 Kipyegon Bett  KEN 1:46.46
5 Kyle Langford  GBR 1:46.53
6 Adam Kszczot  POL 1:46.64
7 Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich  KEN 1:46.90
8 Erik Sowinski  USA 1:46.91


Timothy Cheruiyot easily wins the Mile

It was a case of solid tactics by Timothy Cheruiyot. Knowing he did not have the footspeed to race compatriot Elijah Manangoi in the final straight, Cheruiyot set a torrid pace starting with 400m to go and Manangoi had no answer. The only person who challenged Cheruiyot was 18 year old Ethiopian Samuel Tefera. But even he could not match Cheruiyot’s extra gear.

Race Video

Race Results

1 Timothy Cheruiyot  KEN 3:49.87
2 Samuel Tefera ETH 3:51.26
3 Elijah Motonei Manangoi  KEN 3:52.18
4 Jakob Ingebrigtsen  NOR 3:52.28
5 Clayton Murphy  USA 3:53.40
6 Matthew Centrowitz  USA 3:53.61
7 Bethwell Birgen  KEN 3:54.60
8 Ayanleh Souleiman  DJI 3:55.87
9 Thiago Andrè  BRA 3:56.03
10 Aman Wote  ETH 3:56.49
11 Ben Blankenship  USA 3:56.67


New sensation Benjamin Kigen beats world champ Kipruto

Benjamin Kigen came literally out of nowhere to win the men’s 3000m steeplechase in commanding fashion. He took the lead with 300m to go and went on to lengthen the size of his led such that by the final water jump, he had an unassailable lead. World champion Kipruto had to fend off American Evan Jager for second place.

Race Video

Race Results

1 Benjamin Kigen  KEN 8:09.07 8
2 Conseslus Kipruto  KEN 8:11.71 7
3 Evan Jager  USA 8:11.71 6
4 Amos Kirui  KEN 8:15.23 5
5 Nicholas Kiptonui Bett  KEN 8:15.52 4
6 Jairus Kipchoge Birech  KEN 8:18.76 3
7 Hillary Bor  USA 8:21.51 2
8 Paul Kipsiele Koech  KEN 8:23.22 1
9 Andrew Bayer  USA 8:29.70
10 Tesfaye Deriba  ETH 8:33.36


Other Results

Hellen Obiri finished third in the women’s 5000m finishing well behind Genzebe Dibaba. Margaret Nyairera was 6th in the womens 800m despite running an impressive time of 1:58. Winny Chebet was also 6th in the women’s 1500m.

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Le glas a sonné by Tabu Ley (Lyrics and Translation)


This song was part of the Exil Ley album which Tabu Ley recorded while in political exile. He had to flee the Congo for his safety after he criticized then President Mobutu Sese Seko much to the latter’s fury.

This is a moving song in which Tabu Ley recounts the tribulations that his country, the Democratic Republic of Congo has gone through since independence.

He talks about how the Congolese fought off Belgian colonianialism. But instead of seizing the opportunity to build the country, the Congolese leaders turned against each other. As a result, the wealth of the nation was wasted especially be the selfish leaders who only looked out for themselves.

He expressed shock at the suffering of the Congolese people amid poor schools, a lack of jobs, inadequate health facilties. The oft repeated phrase is Ngonga Ebeti, Tango Ekoki which means the bell is tolling and the time has come. It is an exhortation to the Congolese people to put their differences aside and work to build the country. The phrase is then followed by the ominous toll of a Church bell.

Tabu Ley sings in reverence of the greatest leaders ever from the Congo: Kasavubu, Lumumba, and Tshombe who are politicians, Cardinal Malula, and Simon Kimbangu who are religious leaders, as well Kabaselleh and Franco Luambo, the pre-eminent musicians from the Congo. Most notably he does not mention Mobutu Sese Seko who was the president at the time. The snub was intentional.

Tabu Ley then ends the song exhorting God with the phrase Oh Nzambe oh oh oh…………amid the wails of a funeral.

Song Video

Lyrics and Translations

Africa Music Centre
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Celio by Franco and TPOK Jazz (Lyrics and Translation)


The song Celio, was released in 1986. It was on side B of the album labeled “30 ans du success” and whose feature song was La Vie des Hommes album which was an album released to celebrate the 30th anniversary of TP OK Jazz. Composed by Franco, it was delivered soulfully by the duo of Djo Mpoy and Malage de Lugendo. The two are among the best vocalists in the history of Congolese music. Their voices are so similar that it is difficult for most fans to tell their voice apart.


The song is about  a woman who hears rumors about the misconduct of her husband. Her friends insist that she  question the woman who is rumoured to be having an affair with her husband. After lengthy questioning, the wife prevents her rival from seeing her husband again and he says that their marriage is indissoluble.

Song Video


Lyrics and Translation


Kenya Music Page


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Kinyamal, Chepkoech, Cheruiyot brilliant in Shanghai

Wyclife Kinyamal, Timothy Cheruiyot and Beatrice Chepkoech all won their races in majestic style at the 2018 Shanghai Grand Prix held on Saturday May 13.

Excellent start for Kinyamal

Kenya’s new 800m ace Wycliffe Kinyamal continued with the flying start to his career when he won the 2018 Shanghai Diamond League race. Compatriot Jonathan Kitilit was second. With 150m to go, the Kenyan duo were well ahead of the rest of the pack. They struggled through the last 50m as their muscles tied up but still finished well ahead of the rest. In the process Kinyamal set a personal best at 1:43.91

Not much was known about the 21 year old Kinyamal until he won the 800m at the 2018 Commonwealth games. In 2017 he recorded his first major win at the 53rd edition of the Palio della Quercia Memorial Edo Benedetti in Rovereto.

Kinyamal who comes from the same village as Rudisha, sees a bright future for himself.

“A PB and meeting record, the race was fine,” demurred Kinyamal. “We were fighting for the last 100 metres, but I was stronger and I knew it. I come from the same village as Rudisha, he was always my example. Now I take over.”

Veteran Polish runner Marcin Lewandowski was a distant third while world championships bronze medalist Clayton Murphy was 6th.

800m Results

1 Wycliffe Kinyamal  KEN 1:43.91 8
2 Jonathan Kitilit  KEN 1:43.95 7
3 Marcin Lewandowski  POL 1:45.41 6
4 Antoine Gakeme  BDI 1:45.73 5
5 Brandon McBride  CAN 1:45.78 4
6 Clayton Murphy  USA 1:45.97 3
7 Andrew Osagie  GBR 1:46.36 2
8 Rynardt van Rensburg  RSA 1:46.57 1
9 Solomon Lekuta  KEN 1:47.51


Race Video

Cheruiyot Victorious in the 1500m

World Championships silver medalist Timothy Cheruiyot, outsprinted Ethiopian Samuel Tefera in the last 50m. Tefera seemed destined for an upset win with 150m to go before Cheruiyot started to close him down, finally passing him in the last 50m.

“I was sure I was going to win the race,” he said. “I needed to run a good time, and this race is good for the Diamond League points.”

1500m Results

1 Timothy Cheruiyot  KEN 3:31.48 8
2 Samuel Tefera  ETH 3:31.63 7
3 Abdelaati Iguider  MAR 3:32.72 6
4 Charles Cheboi Simotwo  KEN 3:33.54 5
5 Justus Soget  KEN 3:34.33 4
6 Aman Wote  ETH 3:34.43 3
7 Thiago Andrè  BRA 3:35.40 2
8 Bethwell Birgen  KEN 3:35.95 1
9 Vincent Kibet  KEN 3:36.44


Race Video


Beatrice Chepkoech wins 3000m steeplechase

Fresh from her silver medal in the 1500m at the Commonwealth games, Beatrice Chepkoech returned to her specialty in Shanghai and was able to start the season on a solid note. However the towering Chepkoech had to contend with a strong challenge from compatriot Norah Jeruto. The Kenyan duo were well ahead of the field by the 2000m mark. Chepkoech had a slight lead at the last water jump. But Jeruto stormed back and caught Chepkoech at the last hurdle. Unfortunately she slipped and fell, handing Chepkoech an easy win.

3000m Steeplechase Results

1 Beatrice Chepkoech  KEN 9:07.27
2 Norah Jeruto  KEN 9:09.30
3 Daisy Jepkemei  KEN 9:15.56
4 Roseline Chepngetich  KEN 9:21.05
5 Purity Kirui  KEN 9:21.34
6 Joan Chepkemoi  KEN 9:22.85
7 Peruth Chemutai  UGA 9:22.94
8 Winfred Mutile Yavi  BRN 9:44.02
9 Caren Chebet  KEN 9:46.58
10 Fancy Cherono  KEN 9:47.48
11 Ann Gathoni  KEN 9:47.71
12 Birtukan Adamu  ETH 9:48.38
13 Shuangshuang Xu  CHN 9:55.56
14 Maritu Ketema  ETH 10:05.61
15 Sarah Pease  USA 10:08.39


Race Video

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Asbel Kiprop saga, a huge body blow to Kenyan Athletics

May-3-2018 will go down as an infamous day in the annals of Kenyan athletics. That was the day when it was announced that Asbel Kiprop had failed a doping test. The revelation came from a British newspaper which indicated that traces of the blood booster EPO were found in Kiprop’s sample.

Kenya’s brief history of doping cases

Unlike European and North American countries, Kenyan runners had been relatively clean until fairly recently. In fact until 2013, no Kenyan Olympic or world championship medalist had ever been busted for doping. So Kenyans could make the claim that all their Olympic and world championships medals were clean. Then in 2017 came the earth shaking news that Olympic gold medalist Jemima Sumgong had tested positive for EPO.

In the past two decades, Kenyans had been prominent winners of various city marathons and half marathons. Kenyans were especially dominant in the marathon majors like London, Berlin, Chicago and Boston. None of these Kenyan marathon major winners was ever suspected of winning by cheating. Then in 2014, Rita Jeptoo was busted for doping. She was promptly stripped of her Chicago and Boston Marathon titles.

There had been other less prominent doping cases such as former Rotterdam champion Susan Chepkemei, Mathew Kisorio and Emily Chebet.

Cosmas Ndeti was the first Kenyan ever suspended for doping. This happened in 1988 during the world cross country championships where traces of Ephedrine were found in his sample. But this was before Ndeti became a prominent city marathon winner. And Ndeti never represented Kenya in a major global track or road event.

Asbel Kiprop’s case is the most devastating

Asbel Kiprop is the most accomplished Kenyan miler having won the gold medal at the 2008 Olympics while only 19 and also going on to win the world championships three times in 2011, 2013 and 2015. He is one of the most recognizable Kenyan runners.

His positive test now casts doubt on the achievements of other prominent Kenyan athletes. This is especially true since it comes so close to Jemima Sumgong’s positive test. One cannot help but notice that our neighbours to the North, Ethiopia have never had a positive test among their prominent athletes.

As a result, many across the globe are now questioning whether much of Kenya’s success is based on doping.This could have a significant effect on other Kenyan runners. If Kenyans are seen as cheaters, then even clean Kenyan athletes will suffer. Kenyans will lose their prestige. They will be invited to fewer events and command less appearance fees. It is for this reason that the government must take this issue seriously. Asbel Kiprop’s case must be investigated to the fullest extent by the government.

Kiprop’s reaction

Asbel Kiprop has claimed that he is completely innocent and is being framed and that his sample was tampered with.

“I have read the reports linking me to doping,” Kiprop said, according to The Guardian. “As an athlete, I have been at the forefront of the fight against doping in Kenya, a fight I strongly believe in and support. I would not want to ruin all what I have worked for since my first international race in 2007. I hope I can prove that I am a clean athlete in every way possible.” he said in a press conference.

It is indeed difficult to understand why Kiprop whose legacy was already set, would want to flush all his career achievements down the drain. If he did indeed dope, it is highly disappointing. In 2017, the Fancy bears hack of the IAAF database showed that Kiprop was already being suspected of doping because he had an irregular biological passport.

“The achievements I made are crumbling before my own eyes for a crime that I have not committed” he said to Reuters

Kiprop went on to describe how his personal life has been affected.

“A mixed perception has been created by these allegations,” he added.

“As a consequence, I find it very difficult to walk in public, to look up the main media and social media and to generally carry on with my daily activities.”

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Korir, Kipkirui score wins in Doha


The first Diamond League meet of the 2018 season was held in Doha Qatar on May 4. Kenyans put aside the dark cloud of suspicion that is engulfing the country following news that Asbel Kiprop, one of the greatest milers in history, was busted for doping.

Emmanuel Korir in glorious Diamond League Debut

Emmanuel Kipkurui Korir, who has had a stellar career running in the United States for the University of Texas El Paso, under coach Paul Ereng, won the 800m in his Diamon League debut. He clocked 1:45.21 as Kenyans occupied the top 3 positions. Olympic 1500m meter champion Elijah Manangoi finished second. Polish veteran Adam Kszcot finished 4th.


1 Emmanuel Kipkurui Korir  KEN 1:45.21 8
2 Elijah Motonei Manangoi  KEN 1:45.60 7
3 Nicholas Kiplangat Kipkoech KEN 1:46.51 6
4 Adam Kszczot  POL 1:46.70 5
5 Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich  KEN 1:46.76 4
6 Clayton Murphy  USA 1:47.22 3
7 Antoine Gakeme  BDI 1:47.25 2
8 Jamal Hairane  QAT 1:47.62 1
9 Ebrahim Alzofairi  KUW 1:47.79
10 Kipyegon Bett  KEN 1:48.32
Bram Som  NED DNF


Kipkirui leads Kenya clean sweep in the 3000m

The women’s 3000m was also a 1-2-3 sweep for Kenya as the pushed American star jenny Simpson to fourth position.


1 Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui  KEN 8:29.05 8
2 Agnes Jebet Tirop  KEN 8:29.09 7
3 Hyvin Kiyeng  KEN 8:30.51 6
4 Jennifer Simpson  USA 8:30.83 5
5 Letesenbet Gidey  ETH 8:30.96 4
6 Lilian Kasait Rengeruk  KEN 8:33.13 3
7 Meskerem Mamo  ETH 8:33.63 2
8 Beyenu Degefa  ETH 8:35.76 1
9 Yasemin Can  TUR 8:36.24
10 Norah Jeruto  KEN 8:37.09


Other Events

George Manangoi, a younger brother to Elijah Manangoi, finished second in the 1500m. The younger Manangoi was also making his Diamond League debut. Nelly Jepkosgei finished second in the women’s 1500m behind Caster Semenya of South Africa. Julius Yego continued his decline, finishing 8th in the javelin with a toss of 80.75 metres.

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Kenya at the 2018 Singapore Sevens

Injera rolled back the years and led Kenya in tries

Group Stage

Kenya 19 England 28
Tries: C Injera 1′, W Ambaka Ndayara 12′, NO Oyoo 14′
Conversions: Agero(2)

Kenya 34 France 0
Tries: C Injera (3), LB Odhiambo(2), A Amonde
Conversions: Oliech (2)

Kenya 33 USA 14
Tries: W Ambaka, S Oliech 7′ & 10′(2), A Amonde, OO Ouma
Conversions: Oliech (2), Agero(2)


Kenya 12 South Africa 24
Tries: Injera(2)
Conversions: Oliech

5th Place Semi-Finals

New Zealand 17 Kenya 7
Tries: Sikuta
Conversions: Agero


Collins Injera
Willy Ambaka
Oscar Ouma
Nelson Oyoo
Dan Sikuta
Andrew Amonde
Jeff Oluoch
Eden Agero
Sammy Oliech
Herman Humwa
Augustin Lugonzo
Bill Odhiambo


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Kenyan boxers are no longer battle hardened

Christine Ongare was Kenya’s only medalist in the 2018 Commonwealth games

Kenya’s performance at the 2018 Commonwealth games boxing competition was the worst ever. Kenya sent a team of 10 boxers. Seven of them lost their opening bouts. Only three won their opening bouts but then promptly lost their second bouts. So in total Kenya won three matches. It is the second lowest ever. The worst was 2002 when Kenya only sent four boxers. Kenya’s only medal, a bronze, was won by Christine Ongare, in the diluted women’s section where boxers need only win one match in order to win a medal. Kudos to Ongare for putting on a valiant fight.

Kenya finished in the 13th place with their sole bronze medal. England topped the boxing medal chart with six gold medals. India were second with three gold medals.

No that was not a typo. India won 3 gold medals, 3 silver and 3 bronze medals !

Kenya used to be Commonwealth games boxing champions. The best performances by Kenya came in 1978, 1982 and 1990 when they topped the charts with 3 gold medals, winning as many as 18 bouts. In fact at the 1982 Commonwealth games, Kenyan boxers won more medals than their athletics counterparts.

Why did Kenya have such a good boxing team during this era?

Kenya participated in numerous International Competitions

During the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, the Kenya national boxing team participated in a myriad of tournaments every year. Such tournaments included the Kings cup that was held in Thailand and featured the world best boxers, the African championships, All Africa games, world championships, East and Central African Championships, Brunner Urafiki tournament which featured teams from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, and several others. There was also international friendlies. Since Kenya was a formidable team, numerous national team sent their national teams for friendly matches against the Kenya boxing team. Among the teams that toured Kenya for friendlies were Canada.

The net result was that Kenyan boxers gained valuable experience from regularly competing against the best boxers. They measured their strength and tactical approach against top class competition. So by the time a tournament like the Commonwealth games came around, they were battle hardened and ready.

This is a stark contrast to what pertains today. Tournaments like the East and Central championships and Brunner Urafiki no longer exist. Kenya no longer participates in the Kings cup which is now known as the Thailand Invitational.

Vibrant Domestic League

During the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s , the domestic boxing league was vibrant. Numerous private companies sponsored teams including East African Breweries and KCC. Almost every parastatal had a competitive boxing team including Kenya Airways, Kenya Railways, Posta and Nairobi City council. And finally, each of the forces had a team including Police, Armed Forces and Kenya Prisons. There were also self supporting teams, most notably Nakuru Boxing club which produced Olympic silver medalist Philip Waruinge as well as excellent boxers like George Findo and DK Kamau.

Companies like Kenya Breweries (now known as East African Breweries), offered young boxers employment opportunities. They invested heavily in their boxing team. As an example, Ibrahim Bilali, who won a bronze medal at the 1984 Olympics, started boxing for KBL while still a secondary school student at Highway secondary. The KBL bus would pick him up from school every day to take him to the KBL training gym. Boxers were given well paying positions at companies like KBL and KCC. This served as a motivator for young boxers. It motivated them to sharpen their skills in the hopes of securing employment.

This was the Kenya Breweries boxing team from the 1980s including such world beaters as Stephen Mwema, Ibrahim Bilali, Abdalla Kent and others. In the grey suit is Marsden Madoka, then the chairman of the Kenya Boxing Association.

Even parastatals invested heavily in boxing. For example, Kenya Airways regularly ran a boxing gym in Kibera which they used to tap the rich vein of talent that is Kibera. The nubian community, that predominantly lives in Kibera were natural boxers and produced a disproportionate number of world beating boxers. They had (and stil have) a reputation for being tough as nails. But today it is unlikely that anyone is tapping this rich vein of talent.

The league was vibrant with many teams and it became very popular. Boxing matches pitting top teams like Police vs KBL were well attended by rabid fans. The boxers became famous. This also served as a motivator for the boxers. And because there were so many teams, a very large number of boxers got opportunities to box regularly. The Kenya Boxing Association was then under the astute leadership of Major Marsden Madoka.

Today unfortunately, virtually all the private companies like KCC and KBL have stopped funding boxing teams as have all the parastatals like Railways and Posta. Only the forces like Police and Armed Forces still have teams. As a result the local league has lost its lusture. Youth are no longer motivated to work hard on boxing since it no longer offers employment opportunities.


Kenya Boxing Page


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