Barry Silah @obel_barry
Kenyans returned good results at the CAT East Africa Zonal Championships currently being held in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.
Led by starlets Angela Okutoyi and Derrick Ominde, the juniors were dominant as they cruised into the next round; with five Kenyans progressing. This gives Kenya a chance to fight for the top honours in the weeklong tournament.
Top seed Ominde saw off Rwandan seventh seed Junior Joseph Mfashighabo in straight sets of 6-2,6-2 in the boys’ singles under 16 event. His poise and patience was good enough to subdue his opponent in just under an hour.
The big hitting Ominde used his big frame to good effect as his movement was well executed and timed in the clay court surface. Most of his win percentages came off the first serve and backhand returns, which were problematic for the lightweight opponent. Both sets were mostly faulty on the Rwandan player who failed to deliver the goods.
In another encounter, Kael Shah trounced eighth-seed Sudanese player Ahmed Mandour 6-2, 6-0. The one-sided match saw the second-seed Kenyan drop only two games under hot conditions in the capital. Shah was effective in his ball deliveries especially from the baseline and utilized his spin to good effect.
The opponent failing to connect the balls better thus winning points off errors buoyed his service. It took less than half an hour in the second set for Shah to shut out Mandour who was struggling.
In the girls’ 14 and under event, Faith Urasa beat Barbara Mollel of Tanzania 6-3, 6-0 in a show of might for the former. Urasa was solid on returns but dangerous on the first serve as her opponent whittled.
However in the first set, her opponent twice broke her serve thus she had to deploy an all out attack strategy. Top seed Angela Okutoyi on her part demolished her Rwandan opponent Belyse Tokoze in straight sets of 6-0, 6-0.