Kurume — The national women’s volleyball team libero Agripina Kundu says reaching the quarterfinals of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will inspire the Malkia Strikers to go for a podium finish.
Malkia Strikers is making a return to the Summer Games for the first time since 2004 and with no player in the squad who has graced the biggest sporting event in the world, the team is more than hungry to write history when competition serves-off July 24 at the newly refurbished Ariake Arena.
Kundu, who will be a vital player in ensuring Kenya stays steady was upbeat they will start on a high and with fans barred from the stadium, it gives the African Queens an edge when they launch their campaign against hosts Japan on July 25.
“We are adapting well here in Kurume City; we have been working on the endurance by hitting the gym. Training has been good, we are improving slowly and if we continue like this, results will be good at the Olympics,” Kundu, who likes listening to Bongo music said.
She added, “Japan are at home, its good there are no fans and this means now we are all away. We will deal with them; the other teams in the group are strong, so are we. The group is open and we are not fearing anyone.”
“We target the quarters and when we achieve that, we will be very happy. We just need to beat two teams.”
Other teams that Kenya will face in Pool A are Brazil, Dominican Republic, Serbia and Korea.
-Wacu experience to count-
Meanwhile, as the team will be banking on Jane Wacu’s experience to execute their plans the setter says the blend of experience and new blood will give the team strength and will be unpredictable to their opponents.
“Training has been good, we started on a low because of the six hours difference but we are adjusting. Since we started training, the juniors and courageous and have proved their worth and this is to our advantage,” Wacu said after a training session in Kurume.
“The Brazilian coaches have really helped us. The technical bench are very organized, every coach is handling each position and this has helped us to strengthen our performance generally.”
“We now have everything, if you have issues with food there’s a nutritionist, if its strength and conditioning we have the two Brazilians and Geoffrey Kimani.”
She added, “I was waiting for this opportunity because I have achieved all; the world championship and club World Cup. I have tried to qualify for the Olympics four time unsuccessfully since 2006, but now it’s my time I am now an Olympian.”
“The teams we will face in the group we have met them before, we know their game plan so it’s not easy to beat them. But this time they should expect anything now that we have young players in the team and with the help of the Brazilian technical bench.”