Beach games move laudable

The inaugural Kenya Beach Games that will be held this weekend in Malindi, Kilifi County, should open new frontiers in local sports.

The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) will organise another round of the competition in the Lake region at a later date, with the aim of promoting sports as well as tourism in the region.

The beach games, which will feature 15 sporting events, could help diversify Kenya’s sources of medals in international championships. The country needs to do something about its over-reliance on athletics for medals in major sporting championships such as the Olympics and Commonwealth Games.

The only other source of medals at the Olympics has been boxing, but it is now 35 years since Kenya claimed medals in boxing when Robert Wangila and Chris Sande claimed gold and bronze respectively at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Athletics, boxing and swimming have been the main medal earners for Kenya at the Commonwealth Games. However, the last time Kenya got a medal at the Commonwealth Games was in 2018 in Gold Coast, which followed a triumphant performance by the country’s swimmers in the 2010 edition in Delhi.

Little has been done to enhance Kenya’s medal count in major championships since then, which is why beach games is a welcome idea. 

Kenya women’s beach volleyball team qualified for both the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, and there is a need to build on these performances.

Beach games do not require a lot of resources and facilities to run, yet they are potential areas where Kenya can reap quick gains, considering that the country has a coastline stretching over more than 400 kilometres along the Indian Ocean, with white sandy beaches.

The country has huge potential in canoeing, rowing, swimming and triathlon, among other competitions. We commend the initiative by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and NOC-K, which promises to grow beach games locally.