Voice of Sport

Without cover of Dunford boys, Kenya swimmers brave pool battles with world class opposition including Olympic champ Chad le Clos

But young generation Kenya swimmers not cowering. Among the brave fighters was Mombasa’s Hamdan Bayusuf who almost made the medal bracket on opening day


11th AFRICAN GAMES,

Sep 4-19, Brazzaville, Comngo

 

IN Sunday’s, September 9, morning session at Aquatic Stadium in Kintere, the Kenya team placed three swimmers in the finals held later in the evening. However, only upcoming Hamdan Bayusuf came closest to making the medals’ bracket, finishing fifth in the men’s 50m backstroke, showing the vast gap between the current generation and that of the Dunford brothers — Jason and David — who were multiple Gold and other medals’ winners in the All Africa Games edition of 2007 in Algiers and 2011 in Maputo.

Bayusuf and women Talisa Lanoe and Sylvia Brunlehner fought it out of the heats against stiff completion to just make the finals while (women) Emily Muteti, Anita Field and (men) Maina Kimani, Tony Pragassa, Edward Ilako and Emmanuel Ndonga were eliminated.

Olympic champion

One of the huge spectacles here at the Games is the presence of some of the world’s biggest sporting stars. South African swimmer, Chand le Clos, the Olympic men’s 200m butterfly champion, and winner of five Gold medals in the last All Africa Games in Maputo is spearheading his country’s medal hunt which after Day One included a five Gold medal haul.

Le Clos’s presence in the Games is comparable to if Kenya had brought all their recent World Athletics Championships Gold medalists such as David Rudisha, Ezekiel Kemboi, Vivian Cheruiyot, Nicholas Bett and Julius Yego to Brazzaville [all, except perhaps Bett and Yego, will not be in Brazzaville].

Transition

Nevertheless, a new generation Kenya swimming team, without the previous ever present shield of the Dunford brothers, Jason and David, is trying to cope with transition and among the brave faces are those of Hamdan Bayusuf and Day Two finalists Emily Muteti (women’s 50m Butterfly), Natasha Oduor-Owino (women 200m Breastroke) and Rebecca Kamau (women 200m freestyle).

Some like Tony Pragassa, Maina Kimani and Anita Field did well in the heats, just missing out of qualification to the final during the overall classification after heats.

Kenya FINALISTS on Day One:

Men:

50m Backstroke:

1. Gold – 4. Mohammed SAMY (Egypt) 25.71

2. Silver – 5. Richard ELLIS (South Africa) 25.89

3. Bronze – Mohamed KHALID (Egypt) 26.16

5. 2. Hamdan BAYUSUF (Kenya) 27.21

WOMEN:

100m Freestyle:

  1. 5. Gold – Farida OSMAN (Egypt) 55.41
  2. 4. Silver – Karin PRINSLOO (South Africa) 55. 69
  3. 3. Bronze – Rwan ELBADRY (Egypt) 57.03

7. 1. Sylvia BRUNLEHNER (Tunisia) 59.72

50m Backstroke:

  1. 4. Gold – Jessica ASHLEY COOPER (South Africa ) 29.05
  2. 5. Silver – Naomi RUELE (Botswana) 29.70
  3. 6. Alexus LAIRD (Seychelles 30.07
  4. 8. Talisa LANOE (Kenya) 31.86

Day TWO:

Finalists:

Women:

Emily MUTETI (50m Butterfly)

Natasha ODUOR-OWINO (200m Breastroke)

Rebecca KAMAU (200m Freestyle)

Technical facilities at the Aquatic Stadium here are excellent, the most spectacular being the electronic timing and display board. Instant results by laps, placing at end of race and summary at completion of heats were superb. However a small hitch such as the copiers breaking down and unable to produce printed results caused inconvenience to team managers and media on Day Two.

Ben Ekumbo the Chairman of the Kenya Swimming Federation who is also an executive committee member of the African swimming organisation said the equipment, the latest utilised the world swimming body — FINA – was being used “for the first time anywhere and we are delighted to have it in Africa.”

He added that they were using it as tests and rehearsals for upcoming FINA events including the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016.