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Kenyans add more gold to East Africa basket

Friday August 23 2019

Benedine Jepng'etich (in white) of Cheptil Mixed High School sets the ball under pressure from Monica Jelimo (second right) of Kwanthanze Secondary School during their East Africa Secondary Schools Games final match at the Tanzania Games Track and Safaris (TGT) grounds on August 23, 2019. Cheptil won 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-18). PHOTO | BRIAN YONGA |

Benedine Jepng'etich (in white) of Cheptil Mixed High School sets the ball under pressure from Monica Jelimo (second right) of Kwanthanze Secondary School during their East Africa Secondary Schools Games final match at the Tanzania Games Track and Safaris (TGT) grounds on August 23, 2019. Cheptil won 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-18). PHOTO | BRIAN YONGA |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

BRIAN YONGA
By BRIAN YONGA
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Kenya Friday won three gold medals on the penultimate day of this year's East Africa Secondary Schools Games across different venues.

Kakamega High School, Kwanthanze Secondary School and Moi Girls Kamusinga were crowned champions in rugby 15s, girls' volleyball and handball respectively.

It's Kakamega who started the gold rush, as they saw off Tanzania's Okeeswa Secondary School 56-15 in their final round-robin match at the Tanzania Game Track (TGT) and Safari grounds.

The result put them top of the pile with 36 points after winning all their six matches. It is the Barbarians' seventh title and an improvement from last year's bronze in Musanze, Rwanda. It also completes a memorable double after they won the national title.

Dagoretti High School finished second to win silver after amassing 29 points, while Uganda's Namilyango College prevented a Kenyan sweep as they bagged bronze ahead of Kangaru School.

Kakamega coach Amos Wamanga attributed their success to team work and a never-say-die attitude.

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"These boys came back hungrier after a disappointing outing in Rwanda and showed how much they wanted to win the title and the result has been seen here today," Wamanga said.

"This team is still young and we have the potential of dominating for the next coming years if we keep playing on this level," he added.

Kwanthanze would then follow suit as they successfully defended their volleyball crown seeing off compatriots Cheptil Mixed High School 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-18) in all-Kenyan final at the same venue.

It is Kwanthanze's fifth overall title and third in a row, underlining their dominance in the sport. Many had expected it to be a closely fought final after the two sides played out a five-set thriller in the Kenyan final early this month in Kisumu won by Kwanthanze.

Kwanthanze coach Justin Kigwari said he had worked on improving their service and blocks ahead of the final.

"In Kisumu, they capitalised on those two areas to stretch us to five sets but you can see today our improvement did not give them any chance," Kigwari noted.

Kenya's Soweto Academy made it a clean sweep for the country as they saw off Rwanda's St Alloys 3-1 in the play-off earlier.

Mogonga PAG Secondary School, however missed out on the boys' volleyball bronze after they went down 3-2 to Rwanda's Don Bosco Gatenga.

In handball, Kamusinga exacted revenge on St Joseph's Kirandich Secondary School in the girls' final, edging them 24-22 in another Kenyan affair. Newcomers Kirandich had beaten Kamusinga in the national final in April and were looking to complete a memorable double.

However, it is Kamusinga who had the last laugh to claim their third title after losing the last two finals.

Kamusinga coach Godfrey Simiyu was elated after the result, noting that it was their mental strength that saw them finally defeat Kirandich.

"They (Kirandich) had the edge after beating us in the national final and we needed to believe that we could beat them. The team has shown great courage and they were able to hold the late charge to win," an elated Simiyu said.

Kamusinga led 12-10 at half-time with Mildred Nyongesa contributing eight goals as Valerine Chepkorir top scored for Kirandich with 12 goals.

At the same time, Kenya surrendered the girls' football and hockey crowns on Friday. National champions Nyakach Girls High School and Itigo Girls High School lost their respective football semi-finals on post-match penalties to Ugandan opposition.

Nyakach went down 4-3 to Kawempe Muslim Secondary School as Itigo lost 9-8 Mukono High School in the other last four clash. Kenya had won the title last year through Kwale Girls Secondary School, who failed to reach the regionals. The two schools will battle for the bronze on Saturday as the Ugandans clash in the final.

In hockey, Uganda's Kakungulu Memorial Secondary School upset St Cecelia Misikhu 2-1 in the final at the Twiga club. It is the first time Uganda has won the title since the inception of the games.

Doreen Mbabazi scored the winning goal for the Ugandans with six minutes left.

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