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Angela Okutoyi celebrated as Tennis Kenya Marks 100 years

What you need to know:

  • She will also feature in three junior grade tournaments (J2 Prato, J1 Santa Croce Sull’arno and JA Milan) in Italy in April.
  • This along with a training being organized by Serbia for Okutoyi will prepare her for the Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open. She will play another three tournaments before 2022 ends.
  • Kenani said a lot will be expected for Okutoyi going forward.

Tennis Kenya marked 100 years on Tuesday by celebrating the historic performances of Angella Okutoyi at the Nairobi Club.

The tennis queen left people in tears after she narrated how her family struggled to make ends meet.

The event started with Africa Under-18 champion Okutoyi making her way to the venue with her family in a Landrover Discovery 4 led by motorcycles where Mbagathi Primary School class three pupils welcomed Okutoyi and her family with songs.

Okutoyi, who turned 18 on January 29, got to play an exhibition match with former player Paul Wekesa.

For her performances at the just-concluded Australian Open Juniors, she was gifted an Australian photo book, indigenous scarf and water bottle for the court by the Deputy High Commissioner for Australia Linda Gellard.

The 2018 Kenya Open champion, who hopes to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympics, also received a token of Sh30,000 from Tennis Kenya led by president James Kenani. Speakers showered her with praise for her bravery and putting the country on the world map.

In Melbourne, she defeated Italian Federica Urgesi and Australian Zara Larke in the first two rounds before being stopped by Serbian Lola Radivojevic in the third round.

Okutoyi was the first Kenyan to compete at the junior Grand Slam since Christian Vitulli in 2006 and the first girl from Kenya to win a Grand Slam match.

Kenya National Sports Council Vice-Chairman Charles Nyaberi said it was good to see that Okutoyi has made consistent progress over the years and her journey is no mean feat.

Her coach Francis Rogoi shared a brief story of Okutoyi, whose journey started at the International Tennis Federation (ITF) centre in Bujumbura, Burundi in 2011 after she had shown great promise in the country.

“In 2018, we knew the dream of Angie becoming a star was coming home when she reached the finals of USA under-14 tournament in doubles,” said Rogoi, who later noted that at position 53 on the ITF Junior ranking, Okutoyi has qualified for Roland Garros.

“She will, however, need to defend that ranking as we wait for acceptance into Roland Garros,” he said.

Rogoi says Okutoyi will resume training on Thursday at Peponi School before heading to Egypt for three weeks for Women’s 15Ks tournaments.

These will be held in Sharm Elsheikh from February 14-March 6.

She will also feature in three junior grade tournaments (J2 Prato, J1 Santa Croce Sull’arno and JA Milan) in Italy in April.

This along with a training being organized by Serbia for Okutoyi will prepare her for the Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open. She will play another three tournaments before 2022 ends.

Kenani said a lot will be expected for Okutoyi going forward.

Source – Nation

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