Fresh from back-to-back final appearances in Vancouver and Hong Kong, Shujaa turn their attention to Commonwealth Games rugby Sevens as the program gets underway at Robina Stadium in Gold Coast, Australia today.Kenya open their campaign with a tricky tie against Canada at 3:15am in Pool ‘C’. The two sides clashed last week in Hong Kong with Kenya winning 31-12. Kenya also beat the Canadians 29-15 in Dubai in December.Next in the line for Kenya will be silver medallists from the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, New Zealand at 7:17 am.The All Blacks sevens outfit knocked out Kenya 19-7 four years ago in Glasgow and will be a formidable opponent for Innocent Simiyu’s charges in what is expected to be a bruising contest.Shujaa edged a second-string Kiwi outfit 21-12 in Hong Kong last week but they expect a stern test from the four-time gold medallists.The Kiwis beat Kenya 14-12 in Dubai in December and today’s match is expected to be close. Kenya’s final match will be against minnows Zambia at 1:27pm.Head coach Simiyu said the boys are relishing the challenge and are going for nothing short of a medal in the two-day tournament.“We have had good preparations since we arrived on Tuesday. The boys have adapted to the conditions and are in good spirit,” added Simiyu.The tactician said he expects a competitive contest against the three sides.“The margin of error is small. For us to qualify for the medal bracket, we must win all the three preliminary matches. Canada are physical and we have had close battles with them while New Zealand are a quality side with pedigree and a rich history in the sport. Zambia are an unknown quality and will want to prove a point,” he said.Simiyu will be banking on experienced players including skipper Oscar Ouma, Collins Injera, Andrew Amonde, Nelson Oyoo and Willy Ambaka to fire the team to the semis.Champions South Africa headline Pool ‘A’ alongside Scotland, Papua New Guinea and Malaysia. Pool ‘B’ will see England battle it out against Australia and Samoa while Pool ‘D’ has Olympic champions Fiji facing Wales, Uganda and Sri Lanka. Only the top team from each pool qualifies for the semifinals.Christine Ongare bagged Kenya’s only medal in boxing after striking a bronze despite succumbing to Northern Ireland’s Carly McNaul 5-0 at the Oxenfen Studios in Gold Coast.The European dominated all the three rounds as all the five judges awarded her 30-27, 30-26, 30-26, 30-26, 30-26 against the Kenyan. Ongare had started well but as the bout progressed, she started getting tired as McNaul charged towards her.Ongare admitted that while she gave her best in the first two rounds, she could not take it anymore in Round 3 due to fatigue.This was the only medal for Kenya in boxing after the rest of the boxers were eliminated in the earlier stages.“I am not really used to three bouts and the third round took a toll on me,” she said, adding that the bronze medal is good enough for her considering the standards of women’s boxing in Kenya are still low.“In Kenya, we live from hand to mouth and boxing is more like a pastime. For women boxing to grow, we must prove to the upcoming girls that it is worth the trouble and become role models to them,” she said .Ongare appealed to the government to get involved in growing the game.She said her opponent was not as strong as she had expected but lack exposure made it tricky.“My first opponent was more competitive than this one but I think she is strong and has the right training, giving her an edge,” she said. “The only spurring partner I had joined the forces, leaving me all by myself.”She explained that she got into boxing by default but she has no regret. “I wanted to become an acrobat but I failed to make the cut because they only wanted seven participants,” she added.She said her boxing started when she met coach Alfred ‘Priest’ Onalo, who convinced her to join boxing at SOS Outering.“ I then got into novices before getting into international limelight,” said Ongare. She said for her to focus, she needs a job to sustain herself.She featured in 2014 Commonwealth Games, where she was eliminated in preliminaries. She has also featured in 2012 World Championships in China and 2016 Olympic qualifiers but again failed to make the cut. She said she has good experience but lacks that push in training. “We are very few. We started 10 people but we are only three now,” she said.Coach Patrick Maina said Ongare’s opponent mixed her with tactics and by the time she recovered, she was tired. He said Ongare is a good boxer but she needs a lot of exposure.“You find that in a year she only plays two bouts in a year and this is not enough to prepare a player,” he added.He said she also had issues with her weight because she was forced to play in flyweight instead of her light fly category. “ She weighed over 48.6kg, pushing her out of light weight where we put Caroline Mbithe,” he said. She also refused to fit in the flyweight category properly because she had not appetite to eat.This means she was at a disadvantage because she was facing a boxer who had dropped from bantam. He said things would have been different if she had featured in the light fly.For the second day running, Conseslus Kipruto put a smile once again on the faces of Kenyans as he masterminded a rare 1-2-3 sweep in the 3,000m steeplechase at Carrara Stadium yesterday.Kipruto, the world and Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion, led training-mate Abraham Kibiwott and Amos Kirui to the tape as Kenyans ran away with all the medals in the presence Sports Cabinet Secretary, Rashid Echesa, here in Gold Coast.Conseslus won the race in a games’ record of 8:10.08 despite running a more relaxed race. Compatriot and neighbour Kibiwott posted a season’s best of 8:10.62 while Amos Kirui closed the podium in 8:12.24.The three had little competition apart from Canadian Mathew Hughes who was beaten to fourth place at the line in 8:12.33 and Uganda’s Albert Chemutai, who finished fifth in 8:19.89 after dropping off the pace with two laps to go.The Kenyans ran a tactical race with Kipruto taking the lead barely two laps into the race and led for three laps. He then commanded his troops to step forward as he controlled the pace.“My interest was not just to win gold but to ensure a Kenyan sweep. I would have taken off and won my race with a faster time but I chose to take care of my boys,” he noted.Kipruto — who now hold all the important titles including world, Olympic and Commonwealth Games — said it was in his interest that the country sweeps the board.“For me it was all about my country and I wanted us to win in style. Of course I knew I would win the gold medal but this was not just about me but the team,” he said.He explained that he opted to run with the boys because he knew he could handle the pressure plus the boys would lose if he left them on their own.“I am the senior most here and I wanted to guide them to the end. However, one thing I was sure of is that we were not going to lose gold,” he added.Kipruto said he will be attempting the 3,000m steeplechase record but he is yet to decide the date and venue.A jovial Kipruto revealed that said the Kenyan camp at the Athletes’ Village was in panic until Thursday when Wycliffe Kinyamal won a surprise first gold in the men’s 800m. “I told them not to panic about steeplechase because I knew I would take care of that. I am happy everything went as per the plan,” he said.Kirui was full of praise for Kipruto, saying that the Olympic champion had not only hatched the plan but also executed it. He said the Commonwealth medal means a lot for him and he is inspired to go even bigger things. Kibiwott was equally excited. “I train with Conseslus and I must say he made this happen.”Meanwhile, Margaret Nyairera settled for silver in the women’s 800m, behind Caster Semenya of South Africa, who ran a games record of 1:56.68. Nyairera timed 1:58.07 as Jamaican Natoya Goule took bronze in 1:58.82. The 10,00m race saw Kenya’s Rodger Kwemoi settle for bronze in 27:28.66, behind winner Uganda’s Joshua Cheptigei (27:19.62) and Canadian Mohammed Ahmed (27:20.56). This was the second gold for Cheptegei, having won the 5,000m title while Mohammed took his second silver to add to the 5,000m honours. Kenya’s Jonathan Ndiku faded to eighth in 27:56.24 while Josphat Bett was a poor 11th in 28:56.94.Ndiku was until yesterday the 3,000m steeplechase champion.Commonwealth Games javelin champion Julius Yego will not have a chance to defend his title after failing to qualify for today’s final.Yego threw 74.55m to exit the event, which he dominated four years ago in Glasgow, Scotland, after placing sixth.Australia’s Hamisch Peacock won the second semi after covering 81.22mWhile Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem recorded 80.45 to place second.India’s Vipin Kashana ensured he remained in the mix with an impressive 78.88m throw for fifth place.Ironically, Yego’s understudy Alex Torotich sailed through to the final after qualifying as one of the best losers. Toroitich covered 74.88m for sixth place. The Kenyan has a personal best of 78.67 and a season’s best of 75.67.The qualification mark was 78m but they needed four more to fill the top 12 places with Toroitich emerging second among the four best losers.Granada’s Anderson Peters covered 80.44m to win the first semi ahead of India’s Neeraj Chopra ( 80.42m) and Saint Lucia’s Albert Reynolds ( 78.10m),Australia’s Luke Cann ( 77.43m), Trinidad& Tobago’s Shakeil Waithe ( 75.21m) followed in that order.A disappointed said he was going to protest his ouster. “I am disappointed with the officials. I am not happy at all and I have been asked to pick my video and review and that is what I am doing. I was forced to make my third throw when the con was on the runway and yellow card was up and this means minimal chances. You can’t throw when the con is on the runway and yellow card is up,” he said.It will be an all first timers affair as Menengai face off with Upper Hill in the rugby 15s boys final as the curtains come down on the national Term One Games at Kangaru High today.Menengai surprised champions Kakamega High 20-16 in one of the semi-finals while Upper Hill were too good for St Mary’s Yala — 24-3 in the other.Both teams have in the previous events failed to make it to the final stages.Kakamega will now play Yala in the bronze medal playoff match in hunt for a ticket to the East Africa School Games.In the match against Yala, Upper Hill’s Calvin Kahindi broke their opponents defence in the 10th minute to make the first try before Mubarak Wandera added a penalty try in the 20th giving his side a 12-0 lead.Three minutes later, Yala’s Aggrey Javan sailed a penalty kick through the posts garnering three points which remained the only consolation for the Nyanza Region’s champions.Clement Ashila extended the good run for Upper Hill after touching down in the 26th minute as Daniel Kategera converted the try to end the opening half 19-3.On resumption, Kahindi pounced again in the 42nd minute, which became the last in the game for 24-3 as the two teams played to a try-less 18 minutes to the last whistle.Kahindi who scored a double acknowledged the finals will be hard.“At last we are in the finals. We are going to give our best. It is not automatic that we will beat them having won against them 17-9 in the group stage. We have to be vigilant in our defense and at the same time attack their try area,” said Kahindi.In other results, former handball champions St. Luke’s Kimilili boys have a date with Nyanza Region’s Kanyawanga in the final thanks to a 24-17 victory against Rift Valley’s Saniak in the semi-finals.Kanyawanga had clawed Makieni’s Nduluni 37-19 in the second semi.In basketball final, defending champion Laiser Hill Academy entertain newbies Busia’s Sigalame having eliminated Ambira Boys 55-23, while in a high-scoring second semi, Sigalame edged Meru School 86-43.Sigalame’s guard Vitalis Akisa said: “We are going to keep our momentum high tomorrow. We will be taking on the defending champions who are a big name on basketball but we’ll square it out in the court tomorrow (today).”In boys hockey, champions St. Anthony’s Boys Kitale managed a 1-0 win over Kakamega County’s Musingu High in the semis and come up against Nairobi’s Upper Hill in the final.Upper Hill saw off 1996 winners Kisumu Day 1-0 in the round of four yesterday.
19 Sep, 2018  0  Comments
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