PRESS RELEASE 09.01.2004


Africa Women - Kenya close in on Olympic ticket

Nairobi, Kenya, January 9, 2004 - Kenya moved one step closer to gaining a berth at the 2004 Athens Olympics after beating their arch rivals Egypt 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 25-17, 25-20) on the second day of the Women's African Olympic Qualification tournament in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi on Friday.

The win leaves Kenya the only team to have two wins from two matches with one day to go in this four nation tournament. In the other game on Friday Nigeria gained their first victory of the tournament, having earlier lost to Egypt on day one, with a straight sets (25-15, 25-20, 25-22) victory over outsiders the Seychelles to keep alive their slim chance of gaining an Olympic ticket for the first time in history.

In what was considered as an early final for the Olympic ticket, Kenya deploying the artistry of their professional star Violet Barasa, were far too strong for Egypt in the presence of 7000 spectators in Kasarani Hall and gained revenge for their loss against Egypt in the same hall in the final of 2003 African Nations' Championship, which gave Egypt a World Cup place.

Kenya led during the whole of the first set through effective spikes from Barasa and Lucy Chege before Egypt picked up their game in the second set with Tahany Tosson and Dina Assal leading them to the second set win. In the third set Egypt dropped off in intensity, seemingly affected by the five-set effort they put in against Nigeria the day before. This paved the way for the Kenyan players to control the net and complete their win in the third and fourth sets.

In the third and final day on Saturday Kenya play Nigeria in which the Nigerians need to have at least a 3-1 victory to qualify for Athens while Egypt will play the Seychelles in a dead rubber.