The National 3×3 Women’s Basketball team’s departure to Constanta, Romania, for the FIBA 3×3 U23 Nations League 2022 on 13th September 2022 received a major boost when the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) extended support to them.
The Nations League is the first stride in qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics, whereby the top country earns a direct ticket. Should the country fail to qualify, they get another opportunity if they are to become the leading nation in the Africa Cup in December, in Cairo.
12 women and 12 men will be heading to the Games and Kenyan will play in Pool D, alongside Japan and Lithuania. The top country in each pool qualifies for the quarter-finals followed by knockouts, heading to the finals.
The Kenyan team consists of four athletes- Alexandra Juma (Strathmore), who’s the captain, Madina Okot (KPA), Jackline Kogo (Zetech) and Yvonne Okelo (KPA). The Head Coach, Tonny Ochieng and Team Manager Hilmi Ali will accompany the team to the Games slated from 14th-16th September, 2022.
The Kenyan women’s team and the Rwanda Men’s team were selected to represent Africa after winning the Africa South Conference of the FIBA 3×3 Nations League 2022 at the Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi on July 11-16 where Kenya gathered 510 points.
“This is the biggest tournament straight from the Commonwealth Games. The team is very young, with the youngest player Madina Okot, 18 years of age, having gained experience in Birmingham. The motivation for the young team- we want them to learn to play this game and reach the biggest global stage in Basketball and that is the Olympics”, said Hilmi Ali, who is also the 3×3 National Coordinator and Vice-Chairman, Kenyan Basketball federation.
Speaking during the sponsorship presentation, NOC-K Secretary General, Francis Mutuku, flanked by NOC-K Women Representative, Paurvi Rawal spoke on the importance of the support as a stepping stone to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
“We pride in supporting this young team as they head out for the first step towards Paris 2024. At a time where there’s limited resources available to teams because of the prevailing circumstances, we deploy our meagre resources to support teams in preparations towards the Olympics and we wouldn’t like to see them missing any opportunity, particularly with the promise we see in youthful players.”
NOC-K has recently supported three teams- The Netball women to the Africa Cup 2022, Boxing National team to the Africa Boxing Championship 2022 and Malkia Strikers, who are currently in Brazil preparing for the World Championship later this month in the Netherlands and Poland.
“Three things to note as we continuously prioritize teams; a team has to be youthful which is in our strategic focus and objective not only towards Paris 2024, but Los Angeles 2028, A team has to be consistent, on the path to Olympics (An Olympic or World Cup qualifier) and numbers are not large. The pool can only support as much”, reiterated the NOCK SG.
Speaking, while receiving the Kshs 1.1 million cheque, Alexandrea thanked NOC-K and assured that the team, which has been practicing at Nyayo Stadium, was more than ready.
“For a young girl who’s grown up in Kibera and only got to Strathmore through a Scholarship and now I get to represent my country and for the first time, even to go on international duty, all I can do, and I speak for my team, is bring glory back home. The team is ready and above that, young and full of hope.”
About The 3×3 Basketball Game:
The Game has taken a great triumph since Kenya’s team represented Africa in Birmingham and has evidently been captured at the School Games, through Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association (KSSSA introducing it in the school’s calendar. upcoming basketball female star Medina Okot, a former student at Kaya Tiwi school in Kwale County, spoke on the importance of all the skills she learnt in Birmingham as she heads to the World Nations League.
The youthful player was among the top 60 African Under-18 players who got picked to attend the Basketball Without Boarders (BWB) camp in Cairo, Egypt.
She is also set to join Troy University College in the US for a fully paid four-year scholarship to study and play basketball. She joins another Kenyan international basketballer Felmas Koranga at the institution.