Okutoyi’s Olympics dream hangs in the balance

Angella Okutoyi

Kenya Angella Okutoyi plays a forehand shot to Teja Tirunelve from India during Round One of ITF Women (W25) World Tennis Tour on December 19, 2023 at Nairobi Club.

Photo credit: Chris Omollo | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • To qualify for the Olympics, Okutoyi needs to break into the Top 400 by June 10.
  • The 20-year-old will have no room for slip-ups in La Marsa tournaments in Tunisia.

African Games women's tennis champion, Angella Okutoyi, remains optimistic about her chances of qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The 20-year-old needs to break into the Top 400 by June 10, but the fight for crucial points has not gone quite well. 

The USA-based player was working on getting between 70 and 100 points after moving one step closer to the Summer Games by winning the 2023 African Games in Accra, Ghana in March this year, but has managed 18 so far.

She collected two points from reaching the second round of the qualifying draw at W75 Charlottesville and eight each from W35 Boca Raton and W35 Bethany Beach main draw quarter-final stage.

The three events were held on her favourite surface clay. 

Okutoyi is ranked 523 with 101 points in the WTA singles rankings, and is left with two make-or-break tournaments in Tunisia - W35 La Marsa (May 27 to June 2) and W50 La Marsa (June 3-9).

“I still have three weeks, so anything could change. I’m going to give all I have and whatever happens. I leave it to God,” the 2022 Wimbledon Doubles junior champion told Nation Sport on phone on Sunday.

To realize her dream of competing at the Paris 2024 Olympics, the 20-year-old has no room for slip-ups in the La Marsa tournaments where there is a high possibility that she will start in the qualifying draw. 

In her latest outing, Okutoyi, who won gold in singles and silver in doubles at the African Games, lost 6-2, 6-1 against Swede Kajsa Rinaldo in the quarter-finals of the Sea Colony Tennis in Delaware on Friday. 

She was also eliminated in doubles in the quarter-final stage after losing 6-3, 4-6, 10-4 alongside Ukrainian partner Anita Sahdiieva, at the hands of American pair Ashton Bowers and Mia Yamakita.