Kenya Beach Volleyball team began their training in earnest in Tokyo with having to beat the heat and high humidity high on their agenda.
The Beach Volleyball debutants arrived in Tokyo on Sunday at 8 pm and left the airport at 7 am after Japan’s stringent Covid-19 screening at Narita Airport.
With the exhaustion, the team had to wait until Tuesday for their first training.
The heat in Tokyo is averaging is 26 degrees with high humidity of up to 82 per cent, which the Kenyan duo of Praxedes Agala and Gaudencia Makokha say is giving them problems, but they must adapt to the situation quickly.
“The heat is just too much. The sun is just too hot. But then, this is the situation we find ourselves in, and therefore, we just have to adapt. This is the kind of weather for beach volleyball so we have to adapt quickly and move on,” Agala said.
In order to cope with the heat, Makokha said: “The most important thing is sleeping early and drinking water. Because with this heat, if you don’t drink a lot of water then you will have a hard time during the championship or during the training. So you have to take care of your body. Sleep early, drink a lot of water and rest. That is the secret.”
Agala and Makokha will face off with the Brazilian duo of Rebecca Calvanti Barbosa Silva and Ana Patricia Silva Ramos on Monday, July 26 in Pool D before squaring it out with Americans Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil three days later.
The Kenyans will round up the group stages with a clash against Latvians Anastasija Krav?enoka and Tina Graudi?a.
It is the first time Kenya is qualifying for the Beach Volleyball at the Olympics, which coach Sammy Mulinge described as a good starting point despite not having a national league at home.
“We are lucky in Kenya because we have natural talent. The physical characteristics of many young players in Kenya are amazing. I have been in Rwanda for almost 10 years working with young players and I can tell you the nature of players we have in Kenya is amazing,” he said.
“Qualifying for the Olympics, I think, is a good starting point for beach volleyball in Kenya. So, we look forward to having many programmes for age groups because this is the development stage for every player. We need young players so that we can teach them the basics. Beach volleyball is different from indoor volleyball and so we need to teach them basic skills at an early age. “
Beach Volleyball fixtures
Monday, Jul 26: 11:00 am (Tokyo time)
R. C. B. Silva/A. P. Ramos (Brazil) v B. Khadambi Agala/G. Makokha
Thursday, Jul 29 09:00 am (Tokyo time)
K. Claes/S. Sponcil (USA) v B. Khadambi Agala/G. Makokha
Saturday, Jul 31 10:00 (Tokyo time)
A. Krav?enoka/Tina Graudi?a (Latvia) v B. Khadambi Agala/G. Makokha