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First female Kenyan to win at Wimbledon: The cost of sporting excellence in Kenya

kenyan: Okutoyi
Angela Okutoyi is a Kenyan professional tennis player who became the first Kenyan to win a Grand Slam title at the girls’ juniors Wimbledon event
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Angela Okutoyi is a Kenyan professional tennis player who became the first Kenyan to win a Grand Slam title at the girls’ juniors Wimbledon event, after partnering up with Rose Marie Nijkamp.

At the 2022 Australian Open, Okutoyi made history by becoming the first representative of Kenya to win a girls’ junior singles Grand Slam match.

Okutoyi: kenyan
Angela Okutoyi is a Kenyan professional tennis player with partner Rose Marie

Nobody could have anticipated this, not even Angela Okutoyi, the Kenyan tennis queen herself. Finally, she has achieved a fete that most of her agemates and competitors the world over can only dream of.

After her historic performance in England, where she became the first Kenyan to win a Grand Slam championship at the girls’ juniors Wimbledon event, where she teamed with Dutch Rose Marie Nijkamp, she is finally thrilled to have put Kenya on the tennis map of the world.

With great athletes like Eliud Kipchoge, David Rudisha, and Ferdinand Omanyala, Kenya is unquestionably renowned for its unrivaled athletic skill.

Without a doubt, the former African Under-18 champion is a girl on a mission.

The Grand Slam Player Development Program/ITF Touring Team members Okutoyi and Nijkamp won the Wimbledon Open Doubles Junior Championships on the grass courts of the All England Lawn Tennis Club by defeating the Canadian team of Victoria Mboko and Kayla Cross 3-6 4-6 (11-9) in the final.

After falling to the Canadians 6-3 in the opening set, the team was already behind in the championship match.

They bounced back to take the second set 6-4. The Dutch and Kenya’s top seed won the tiebreaker against Canada’s fourth-seeded team 11-9 to clinch the championship. 

Okutoyi expressed her delight after she achieved one of her dreams of winning an international title.

The US Open Junior Tennis Championships are now the center of attention for Okutoyi. the event is scheduled to run from August 29 to September 11, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre.

Okutoyi has now surpassed the records set by Paul Wekesa and Christian Vitulli, two other Kenyans who have competed at Wimbledon.

Wekesa was eliminated in the first round of men’s singles in 1996, while Vitulli advanced to the boys’ doubles quarterfinals in 2006.

On the grass courts of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, Okutoyi and Nijkamp overcame deficits in both sets to defeat third-seeded Lucija Ciric Bagaric (Croatia) and Nikola Daubnerova (Slovakia) 6-3, 6-4, and advance to the championship match.

Her career took off in 2018after she defeated the seasoned three-time former champion Shufaa Changawa at Nairobi Club to become the youngest player to win the Kenya Open at the age of 14.

She won Eastern Africa Zonal Championships Under-16 in 2019 and went on to win the ITF East African Under-18 Junior Circuit, ITF Nairobi Junior Open, and Africa Junior Championship on Clay Court (AJCCC) Under-14 singles in the same year.

Later, she was named the 2021 Africa Junior Champion before setting new records this year.

Okutoyi created history in May as he advanced to the second round of the JA Roland Garros (French Open Juniors).

Angela Okutoyi, the newly minted Wimbledon girls’ doubles junior champion, arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Monday evening to a hero’s welcome, which is often reserved for athletes returning home with numerous gold medals.

Okutoyi requires a strong network of support from the public sector and business community to keep her legitimate place in the tennis world’s elite.

She is currently without a reliable sponsor and is only dependent on the meager monies provided by TK. After all, is said and done, though, her coach Francis Rogoi is still upbeat about her chances of competing on the world stage.

Without adequate resources and facilities, Rogoi, who has been teaching Okutoyi since 2014, acknowledges that tournament preparation is highly demanding.

Rose Meghas, the head of marketing at TK, believes that Okutoyi has a long life ahead of her but that she needs a lot of help on her path to success. Okutoyi, who was born on January 29, 2004, rose to fame extremely quickly.

Before receiving an ITF scholarship to attend the prestigious Kings International School in Burundi as a result of her tennis prowess, Okutoyi attended Mbagathi Road Primary School through Grade Five.

Okutoyi is currently in her final year of a homeschooling program and has a very demanding schedule to manage between her schoolwork and athletics. Now she needs to adopt a lot more unique models to soar to incredible heights.

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Unfortunately, Okutoyi has not received any support from the ministry despite meeting with Amina Mohamed, the ministry’s sports CS, after she returned from the Australian Junior Open in Melbourne in February.

She will participate in the US Open later in September, so the government needs to take action as soon as possible.

Given that she will be participating in the US Open later in September, the administration needs to act as quickly as possible.

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