Kenya names men and women rugby sevens Olympics squads

PARRAMATTA, NSW - FEBRUARY 01: Kenya before the game during Pool A, Match 7 between Kenya and Fiji at the HSBC Sydney Sevens Rugby on February 01, 2020 at Bankwest Stadium in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kenya on Monday named its men and women rugby sevens squads for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as the country continues to hunt for a first-team medal at the Summer Games.

Captain Andrew Amonde is one of the four survivors from the men’s team, nicknamed Shujaa, that played at the Rio 2016 Games in Brazil. Kenya finished 11th overall after failing to make the quarterfinals.

Star winger Collins Injera, Billy Odhiambo and Willy Ambaka also returned for their second Olympic appearances in Japan as head coach Innocent Simiyu rolled out a team that sought to balance experience and youth.

“The selection was tough as all the boys put in the work. We are happy to have a few experienced players fit and back into the fold. Our key target is getting out of the pool. Our first pool game will set the standard for our performance in Tokyo,” Simiyu, a former captain of the sevens and 15s team, said in Nairobi.

The men’s rugby sevens competition in Tokyo will run from July 26 to 29 and Shujaa is in Pool C of the 12-team competition alongside continental rivals South Africa, the United States and Ireland.

At the same time, Kenya Lionesses head coach Felix Oloo also named his team for the Olympic women’s sevens competition in Tokyo from July 29 to 31.

Skipper Philadelphia Olando is one of three survivors from the squad that played at Rio 2016 alongside Sheila Chajira and Janet Okello.

Kenya is in a tough Pool A alongside New Zealand, Russia and Britain.

“We based our selection criteria on attendance, discipline, medical assessment, player fitness as well as an understanding of the game and positional roles each player has,” said Oloo, who is missing some players who have failed to recover from injury remarked.