Chemtai, the hockey star who conquered the track, field events

Friday, July 3rd, 2020 00:00 |
Chemtai representing Kenya Railway at a past athletic event at Kasarani Stadium. Photo/PD/PHILLIP KAMAKYA

She is easily one of Kenya’s greatest multi-talented sportswomen who left a legacy that seems hard to match.

When she was not representing Kenya Railways in athletics at the Kenya Communications Sports Organizations (KECOSO) Games, she would be busy showcasing her skills in hockey, a sport she first tried her hands in while at Pangani Girls High School.

It was in 1989 when Chemtai, better known as Chemo and now 48, was just about to sit for her O-Level examination at the academic giant when she burst into the scene and went on to craft her way to being one of the best players in the national secondary school games.

Chemtai was lethal in front of goal and would steer Pangani Girls, whom she joined from Ngara Girls High, to victory several years after the school was struggled in hockey.

“Once I first tried playing hockey at Pango (read Pangani Girls), there was no stopping me.

There were some dedicated players at the institution and I guess that was why we were managed to form a squad that sent shivers down the spines of opponents,” she said.

Chemtai’s athleticism was discernible when she was a pupil at Dr. Krapf Primary in Maringo Estate in Nairobi as she represented the school in inter-divisional games and would always shine in sprints and field games.

“I was doing athletics for fun and was glad that I was able to balance it with academics which even my parents embraced,” reminisces Chemtai who hails from Kapsabet.

Back to hockey in 1989, Chemtai stretched her finesse and fluency and it did not take long before she attracted the eyes of national women league side Intercapitale as well as the national women second string side in which he made her debut against Malawi senior outfit.

“Many would tell me that I was full of energy and running and was a leader on the pitch but I would not allow to be carried by the praises and would keep working hard to enable the team get the desired results,’’ offers the mother of four.

After representing Intercapitale for a decade, Chemtai would join Blue Eaglets in 2002 up to 2012 before she was lured by multiple league champions Telkom Orange in 2004 up to 2018 when she retired.

However, what is mind-boggling is that she has had 70 international caps besides having scored a freaking over 30 goals.

That tells you of a player who tormented her opponents with deft stick work and speed and apparently, this was the reason why she was honoured in the sports category during the Mashujaa Day celebrations in 2019.

Granted, such virtues coupled with discipline hardly go unnoticed and this is apparently some of the reasons why Chemtai landed a job at Kenya Railways Corporation where she serves as the Senior Human Resource Assistant.

Chemtai parting shot was that aspiring players should be dedicated if they want to succeed in their careers.

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