Eighty seven Kenyan sportsmen and women have so far qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with over 100 fans having purchased tickets to watch their stars in action at the Summer Games.
And what has pleased the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (Nock) is that the gender ratio for those who have qualified is almost 50-50, with more expected to qualify in three next three months.
Tokyo Games Chef de mission, Waithaka Kioni is delighted that Kenya managed to qualify female athletes in boxing and tae kwon-do recently.
At the same time, Kingdom Sports Group, a sports marketing firm that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has given the rights to sell the Olympic tickets in the country, has asked for more allocation after an increase in sales and interest.
Kingdom Sports Group Managing Director, Daniel Beniston disclosed that there has been a 10 to 15 percent increase from Kenyans seeking tickets to Tokyo Summers Games compared to the 2012 London Olympics, hence the move to increase the ticket allocation for Kenya.
The final public sale for the tickets will take place on March 6 at 9am on their website as Beniston warned Kenyans that his company has the exclusive rights.
The tickets ranges from US$29 (Sh2,900) to US$1,320 (Sh132,000) basing on the day, events and arena.
Commonwealth Games flyweight bronze medallist, Christine Ongare was among the two Kenyan qualifiers from the Africa boxing championships that ended Saturday in Dakar, Senegal.
The other is featherweight boxer Nick “Commander” Okoth.
Faith Ogalo, a third year student at Kibabii University, won her heavyweight final to qualify during the Africa tae kwon-do qualifiers on February 24 in Rabat, Morocco. She was the only Kenyan qualifier in the sport.
“It feels extremely good to have more female qualifying for the games for the first time ever,” said Kioni, adding that they look forward to have more qualify from karate, cycling, judo, canoe slalom, weightlifting, wrestling, beach volleyball, badminton, shooting and archery, whose qualifiers will run between March to May.
The disciplines with athletes who have qualified are tae kwon-do, boxing, swimming, indoor volleyball women and rugby sevens men and women.
Kioni said they hope to send a squad of at least 100 men and women as Nock availed an additional Sh10 million to help the federations that are yet to go through their respective qualifiers.
Nock provided a similar amount last year to its affiliates to assist them in their “Road to Olympic Games.”
“The government has also been kind to support teams travelling for qualifiers in the last two months, and on behalf of federations, we express our gratitude especially to the Sports Cabinet Secretary, Amina Mohammed,” said Kioni, who was flanked by Nock Secretary General Francis Mutuku and committee members Shoiab Vayani and Paurvi Rawal at the briefing.