Losing start for Kenya beach volleyball side on their debut

Tuesday, July 27th, 2021 00:00 |
Kenya’s Brackcides Khadambi reacts during their women’s pool D beach volleyball match against Brazil at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Shiokaze Park. Photo/AFP

Kenya’s beach volleyball ladies team had a baptism by fire as they began their campaign against multiple champions Brazil who beat them by two straight sets (15-21, 09-21) to spoil their dream debut.

Kenya who are the Africa champions, next return to the Shiokaze Park on Thursday to face another Pool ‘D’ favourite USA.

The duo of Brackcides Agala and Gaudencia Makokha made a good account of themselves against the  dreaded Brazil’s pair of Ana Patricia and Rebecca Silva, going toe-to-toe in the first set.

Playing in extreme weather conditions where air and sand temperatures averages 32 degrees celsius, Kenya held their own for a 5-5 tie in the first set before the experienced Brazilians raced away 11-6, went further ahead 17-11 and  sealed the set at 21-15. 

Another strong start from Kenya saw them restrict Brazil to only a one-point lead at 6-5.

The South Americans rallied afterwards leading 15-5 and easily claiming the second set at 21-9. 

USA beat Latvia 2-1 (21-13,16-21,15-11) in another Pool ‘D’ match earlier at the same venue. Meanwhile, Jake Gibb does not yet know if he is at the end or the beginning. 

As he contemplates his final year in beach volleyball at the Tokyo Olympics, the four-time Olympian has successfully held time at bay but has never quite figured out what’s on the other side of the net.

The 45-year-old started his fourth Games on Sunday evening at Shiokaze Park on Tokyo Bay and made history as the oldest beach volleyball player ever in the Olympics. 

It wasn’t how he’d imagined his final appearance to be after a 20-year career in the sport. But then again, Gibb is used to life throwing the unexpected at him.

In 2003, he was diagnosed with skin cancer and had a malignant melanoma removed from his left shoulder.

Seven years later, in 2010, he was informed he’d failed a drug test with abnormally high hormone levels.

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