IN ARUSHA, TANZANIA
Nyamira Girls Secondary School hockey goalkeeper Ritah Opit Monday made a string of saves to help her side beat Lindi Secondary School from Tanzania 5-0 at St Constantine's International School grounds, as the East Africa Secondary Schools Games entered crucial stages.
This happened as the other Kenyan girls' hockey teams, St John's Kaloleni Secondary School and St Cecelia Misikhu Secondary School also registered easy wins, setting the stage for a possible podium finish for all the three Kenyan teams in the discipline.
Misikhu hammered Old Kampala from Uganda 4-0, while St John's Kaloleni defeated Juhudi High School from Tanzania 5-0 in another match played earlier at the same venue.
Kenyan boys' hockey teams also proved their might, registering easy wins with Friends School Kamusinga sounding the boards five times to dispatch Juhudi, while champions St Anthony's Boys Kitale rocked Lindi Secondary from Tanzania 3-0.
"It looked easy for us from the start but our opponents gained confidence and improved in the last quarter giving us very nervy moments," Opit, who was the stand-in-captain, said after the match.
In basketball, Kenya's Dagoretti High School and Buruburu Girls Secondary School won their second consecutive matches to increase their chances of making it to the last four.
Dagoretti had forward Mustapha Ahmed to thank for their 78-67 win over a stubborn Seroma College from Uganda, in a match the Kenyans had to come from behind. Seroma led the first quarter and second quarters 17-16 and 22-12 for a huge 39-28 halftime lead, but the Kenyans slowly clawed their way back in the last two quarters.
Kenyan champions Buruburu defeated Machame Secondary School from Tanzania 60-24 after a 32-14 half-time score.
Other girls' basketball matches saw St Noah of Uganda come from behind to beat Juhudi 59-45, while St Bernadette Secondary School from Rwanda defeated Nabisunsa Secondary School from Uganda 56-40 in group 'A' matches.
It was a bad day for Kenyan schools in football. St Anthony's Boys Kitale and Nyakach Girls Secondary School both lost to Ugandan opposition. St Anthony's put up a brave fight but lost 1-0 to champions Buddo Secondary School with Innocent Ronald scoring the winner in the 56th minute.
Nyakach surrendered a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 to Mukono High School. A brace from Nnjemba Taizi cancelled out Faith Omuyaku's opener.
Elsewhere at the International School of Moshi, Kenyan swimmers delivered the country's first gold at this year's games.
The Kenyan boys' and girls' were unmatched winning both team titles to maintain their dominance in the sports since its introduction to these games in 2014. The boys' team garnered 545 points, while the girls recorded 531 points to scoop top spot with a total of 1150 points. Uganda was second with 1019 points, with Rwanda placed third with 278 points ahead of hosts Tanzania, who finished fourth with 144.
Kenya bagged 52 medals - 23 gold, 19 silver and 10 bronze - to relegate Uganda to second with a total of 46 medals. Kenyans Aheer Chatterjee and Jerome Waudo set the ball rolling as they splashed to gold and silver in boys' 200m individual medley. Chatterjee timed two minutes 30.34 seconds with Waudo settling for silver in 2:38.12, while Uganda’s Ampaire Nathan won bronze in 2:41.00.
In the girls' 50m butterfly, Nicole Makau of Kenya and Trima Makena snatched the top two spots. Makau clocked 34.67 with Makena timing 35.92 as Uganda’s Mariam Tendo settled for third position.
In the junior boys' 50m butterfly race, Stephen Ndegwa of Kenya won in a time of 27.35, with his closest challenger Cedric Niyibisi of Rwanda clocking 29.44 later to take silver. Twaib Hamza of Kenya completed the podium in 29.90.
Kenya's Mazrui Abdalla won the boys' senior 50m breaststroke in a time of 31.34 with compatriot Esmail Abdalla taking silver in 35.43 and Uganda’s Regan Atire bagging the bronze in 36.13. Hawala Samantha of Kenya won gold in the girls' senior 100m Breaststroke. She swam to first place in a time of 1:24.75, Uganda’s Neema Kangi spoilt Kenya’s party snatching silver 1:28.13, with Kenya’s Bianchi Maria coming in seconds later to complete the podium.