Bright start for Kenya as continental event begins
Judo fans in the country were treated to some mouth-watering encounters as the Africa Judo Championships began at the Kasarani stadium yesterday.
Daniel Kelly put up an impressive performance in the 48kg category to secure bronze for Kenya in a highly charged encounter with Burundian Ayoub Elmessai.
“I thank God for this win and I apologise to my fans and the whole country at large for not winning the gold medal but we live to fight another day,” a teary Kelly said.
Another Kenyan Dama Martha had the watching fans on their toes as she trounced Niemand Arike from South Africa in the 52kg category to secure a bronze medal for Kenya.
Ribeiro Junior from Mozambique was triumphant as he won against Mozambique Zayed Diallo in the 55kg category to win a bronze medal for his country.
Kenya Judo Association (KJA) director Joseph Momanyi congratulated the winners while at the same time he thanked the government and relevant stakeholders for making the event successful.
“The tournament has been a success and I want to thank everyone who was involved in making this a success,” Momanyi said.
Momanyi noted the youthful and experienced judo team that has been assembled is full of potential ahead of the global games in Paris, France.
Momanyi is a former judo Olympian with the Kenyan team and an accredited referee by the World Judo Association.
Speaking separately at the sideline of the tournament, KJA chairman Shadrack Maluki reckoned that the country will stand to gain immensely from African Cadet and Junior Championship.
A total of 69 judokas from 12 countries are participating in the African Cadet Championships that kicked off yesterday in Kasarani.
Another group of 116 judokas from 16 countries will thereafter grace the two-day Africa Junior Championships set for tomorrow and Sunday.
Kenya is registered for the continental showpieces alongside South Africa, Egypt, Madagascar, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Angola, Botswana, Uganda, Algeria, Guinea, Zambia and the Comoros Islands.
The championships will also serve as a qualifier Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
They will also be used as a curtain raiser to the 2022 Conakry Junior African Cup set for September 25.