Malkia Strikers make Commonwealth beach volleyball debut
It was a bittersweet first day for Malkia Strikers at the 2022 Commonwealth Games as the national women’s beach volleyball side marked its debut at the global games with a 2-0 loss to their counterparts from New Zealand on Saturday at the Smithfield arena in Birmingham, England.
The pair of Gaudencia Makokha and Brackcides Agala was defeated 21-10 and 21-19 in the Pool A encounter by the duo of Alice Zeimann and Shaunna Polley.
Kenya has never participated at the Commonwealth in beach volleyball, which was only introduced as an event during the previous edition in Gold Coast, Australia in 2018.
After a nervy first set where Kenya really never got going, Salome Wanjala’s charges composed themselves in the second set where they withstood everything thrown at them by their Oceania opponents up until the final stages where Zeimann and Polley, ranked 40th globally, peeled away to secure the set.
New Zealand now moves up to second in Pool A, tied on two points with defending champions Canada who made light work of Ghana in the Group’s other encounter. Kenya sits third with Ghana fourth.
The Kenyan queens converted 17 of their 32 total attacks with Agala leading the way with 10. Captain Makokha was the primary server and did so on 20 occasions while also having one blocking success.
Malkia Strikers have one rest day before going back out on the court, this time against defending champions Canada on Monday at the Smithfield venue.
The top two teams at the end of the group stage will earn direct passage to the quarterfinals with two of the best third-placed teams joining them to complete the eight-team line-up.
Back home, the Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) on Saturday held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) where the 2022 national and county elections were discussed. It was decided that the new dates for the elections, which were supposed to be on July 30, would be announced at the next AGM on October 29.
The elections were cancelled after it was confirmed that the federation’s county-based branches were not duly registered by the Registrar of Sports which is one of the requirements as according to the 2013 Sports Act.
The county elections will be supervised by the County Sports Directors while IEBC will oversee the elections at the national level.