Chipu Make Olympics Debut
The Youth Olympic Games (YOG) is an international multi-sport event organized by the International Olympic Committee. The games are held every four years in staggered summer and winter events consistent with the current Olympic Games format.
The inclusion of rugby in the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics was as a result of 7s rugby being voted as an Olympic Sport for Rio 2016. The criteria of selection for the teams participating in this year’s competition were based on the performance of countries in the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens held in Moscow.
The Kenya Sevens team finished 4th at the Sevens World Cup hence guaranteeing the Kenya U-19 team a slot in the 2014 Youth Olympics. The team will represent Africa in the competition. The other team from Africa is Tunisia who will field a team in women’s rugby.
The Kenya U-19 team has been training from late last year at the RFUEA Grounds. The legendary Pritt Nyandat who witnessed the team win the Nile 7s in Uganda earlier on in the year praised the management and team.
At the team send-off lunch he gave the players words of wisdom and encouragement taking them through his rugby playing journey in the 80s. He was quick to acknowledge that the current squad was the best he had seen over the years.
The Kenya Rugby Union Chairman speaking at the team’s send off luncheon challenged the players to showcase their talent to compete for slots in Kenya’s team to the 2015 Vodacom Cup.
We caught up with backs coach Nicholas Abala who led the team to the Nile 7s Main Cup victory in Uganda. Despite not going with the team to China, he remains to handle the team that will travel to Namibia to play in the Confederation of Africa Rugby [CAR] tournament 25th-31st August in the absence of Head Coach, Paul Murunga.
He anticipates a podium finish and expects notable performance from Edgar Khafumi who is arguably the fastest player in the team and Dan Abuoji whose pitch intellect will play a role in the team’s success.
The squad to China is as follows :
Paul B. Songoi, Nelson Sangura, Brian Mokua, Brian N. Gisemba, Bill O. Omondi, John O. Ochar, Edgar Khafumi, Alex M. Olaba, Keith Wasike, Daniel W. Abuonji, Lamech Kimutai, Ian O. Omondi
Management: Paul A. Murunga- Head Coach, Joseph Okong’o- Team Manager
17th Aug – 6am: Ken vs USA, 1pm – Ken vs France
18th Aug – 6am: Ken vs Argentina, 12.30pm – Kenya vs Japan.
19th Aug – 6.30am: Fiji vs Kenya