Kenya soars high to win inaugural East Africa wrestling championships in Nairobi

Tuesday, July 9th, 2024 08:30 | By
Part of the action during the East Africa Regional Development Tournament amateur wrestling event in Nairobi over the weekend. PHOTO/ SHADRACK ANDENGA

 Kenya emerged the overall winners of the inaugural East Africa Regional Development Tournament ( EAREDT) amateur wrestling by clinching most of the category during the event held in Nairobi over the weekend.

Kenya scooped 121 points after excelling in both the freestyle and beach wrestling categories that had juniors from under 15, 17 and under 20 years of age as well as seniors in both men and women. This was a maiden regional win for Kenya and it was a sweet victory as the event was held on home soil, something that national team coach and Technical Director Linus Masheti says has raised stakes in the sport in the region.

“Most of our medals came in through the seniors while our juniors who we call cadets have registered mixed results, it shows that we are somewhere in between good and average. Our main intentions now and focus will all go to the school-going children as we aim at the 2026 Youth Olympics in Dakar, Senegal,” said Masheti on Sunday after the conclusion of beach Wrestling at Strathmore University in Nairobi.

Surprise package Burundi came in second with 16 points as neighbours Tanzania finished the podium with nine points in third place. Uganda and Mauritius both had four points and we’re ranked fourth and fifth respectively as Sudan closed the ranking chapter with a point.

Kenya had 45 points in beach Wrestling, Burundi amassed nine points, Tanzania had three points and Mauritius had two.

“ This competition has tested our endurance and tactical approach for the game. We need more of such competitions either home or abroad because they prepare us for international ones like the olympics which I have missed and also by so doing, we are going to raise the standards of Wrestling in East Africa, “ said beach Wrestling gold medalist Mathayo Mahabila who also won a bronze medal during the 2023 Africa beach Wrestling games in Tunisia.

Kenya Armature Wrestling Association ( KAWA) president Anthony Kariuki and Secretary General Erick Walucho both agreed that following the successful regional Championships, the local Association in conjunction with the world Amarture wrestling governing body will now organize more events across Kenya In a bid to develop the sport.

“ This is the way to go and we have to thank United World Wrestling a lot for funding this program here in Kenya. We hope that this will be a regular thing, doing it at least thrice a year as we target the 2028 Summer Olympics Games in Los Angeles,” said Kariuki.

Development Director at United World Wrestling ( UWW) Deqa Diamkey was quick to emphasize that the global armature Wrestling governing body has pledged to support Kenya for the next three years into hosting the East Africa Wrestling Championships, a project that also engulfs coaching courses, referees training, youth tournaments and camps that are aimed at promoting armature Wrestling in Kenya and East Africa.

As the first-ever East Africa region armature Wrestling Championships came to a close in Nairobi, 150 athletes from six countries have proved their worth on the floor mat and the sand in a bid to secure the region’s top honorary titles in both men and women, but all eyes will now be on Kenya with the UWW funding that is aimed at developing wrestling talents in the country and across the East Africa region.

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