Kenya’s Malkia Strikers qualifies for Tokyo 2020 Olympics volleyball

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Kenya’s Malkia Strikers celebrate with coach Paul Bitok after they defeated Nigeria in the final game of the African Olympic qualifiers at the Palais polyvalent des sports Arena in Yaoundé, Cameroon, to secure a spot at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. COURTESY: TWITTER/FIVB

Kenya on Thursday qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, after defeating Nigeria 3-0 in the final game of the African Olympic qualifiers at the Palais polyvalent des sports Arena in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

The Malkia Strikers defeated the Nigerians 25-15, 25-21, 25-12 to finish top of the five-team table with 11 points, one ahead of bitter rivals Cameroon.

Kenya’s qualification means it ended a 16-year absence from the Olympics and will be Africa’s sole representative at the Games. It will be a third appearance for Kenya at the Games, more than any other African country.

Kenya won all its four matches at the tournament defeating Egypt, Botswana, Cameroon and, finally, Nigeria dropping only three sets.

Kenya coach Paul Bitok expressed delight at the team’s achievement and urged the government to support the team in its preparations.

“We just wanted to enjoy ourselves and complete the job. I am happy that the girls won without a defeat. Our focus shifts to Olympics and once we get home we will sit with the federation to chart the way forward in terms of preparations,” Bitok said.

Bitok added that he hopes to have a training camp in Turkey for three months and play quality friendly matches against top nations in preparation for the Games.

Other teams that have qualified so far for the women’s tournament in Tokyo are Argentina, Brazil, China, Italy, Japan, Russia, Serbia and the United States.

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