Regional domination at the heart of Kenya judo teams

KJA chairman, Shadrack Maluki and secretary, Joan Githua (front R and L) pose with the ...
KJA chairman, Shadrack Maluki and secretary, Joan Githua (front R and L) pose with the national team. PHOTO/Courtesy)

The national Judo teams are targeting to emerge with as many direct slots as possible for the African championships in Mauritius later this year when they participate at the forthcoming regional competition in Zanzibar.

The men and women judokas will depart for the East and Central African Championships on Tuesday for the event that runs on the weekend of March 4 and 5.

The teams have been in camp at Moi International Sports Complex Gymnasium, Kasarani for the past week under the tutelage of Head Coach Mike Tole who is optimistic the team will fare well in Zanzibar

“We’ve been here for the past eight days .The morale has been high and I’m impressed by the level of competition amongst ourselves. I can foresee a good performance,” he said.

Tole said he would be travelling with 29 judokas – 12 ladies and 17 men- with no major injuries reported in the squad.

He added that the judokas had vowed to leave nothing to chance in the battle to be in the frame to represent their country at the African Championships but also the Commonwealth Games scheduled for next year.

The Kenyans will know their opponents when they arrive in Zanzibar just before the start of the tourney.

Kenya finished second behind hosts Burundi, where they bagged 14 medals last year.

Ladies captain Dorine Okoth has lauded the efforts by the Kenya Judo Association in the smooth running of their build-up.

“For the first time, we have been able to camp before an upcoming championship. Last time it wasn’t easy as we faced so many challenges including lack of proper accommodation and poor facilitation,” she underscored.

Okoth was tipped her team to improve on their tally of three gold in Burundi.

“This time we have doubled the number in the team. I’m sure we are going to perform well and probably win more medals,” she said.

Judo is a physically demanding sport that involves techniques that allow you to pin opponents to the ground, control them and apply varying joint locks until submission.

If you touch the ground from head to toe, from the waistline to the toe as well as from the thigh to the toes you earn a full, half and quarter point in that order.

-Report by Mwangi Githinji

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