Silver for Kenyans
Changawa and Kibet settle for second place in men’s doubles
Ishmael Changawa and Ibrahim Kibet earned Kenya silver medal after losing to Tunisia’s Moez Echargui and Mohammed Bellalouna 6-4, 4-6, 5-10 in the men’s doubles final as curtains came down on the Africa Nations Cup on Saturday at the Nairobi Club.
Backed by the small partisan crowd, The Kenyan duo started superbly, breaking the Tunisia duo’s serve to race a 3-0 lead in the opening set .
The Tunisian duo fought bravely to win the fourth and fifth games of the set, reducing the margin to 3-2 before a lapse in concentration by the North Africans saw them lose the sixth game to trail 2-4.
Echaragui and Bellalouna were not going away quietly and battled hard in the next two games and to tie the match at 4-4.
Chan and Yego broke the North Af- rican resistance to win the ninth game and closed out the set by winning the tenth game.
The second set was a closely fought affair with play going to serve until the eight game with the score tied at 4-4.
The Kenyan duo lost their concentration in the ninth game to trail 5-4 and the Tunisian duo carried the momentum to the final game of the set, where they won to tie the match.
The Tunisian duo dominated the third set, racing to an early 4-0 lead. Kibet and Changawa managed to steady the tide and win the next three games to come within a point of the North Africans to 4-3.
The North African stepped up a gear by winning the next four games to lead 8-3 but despite a the valiant by the Kenyan duo, the North African breezed through the final two games to carry the doubles title.
Changawa was delighted with the silver medal after tough week, having bowed out of the men’s singles in quarter-finals.
“It has been a tough week considering i lost in quarters during the men’s singles. But it was good to compete in the doubles final and win a medal. Me and Yego (Ibrahim) were competitive in doubles and we never gave up,” added Changawa
On the overall team performance, Changawa said they have learnt their lessons.
“We have a young team that is gaining valuable experience. It has been a difficult campaign for Kenya but we will go back to the drawing board as we try to improve on our performance for the future,” he added.
Changawa and Yego had beaten Abdoul Shakur (Burundi) and Fabrice Tuyishime (Rwanda) in the semi final with a comfortable 6-1, 6-1 result.
The North Africans dominated the week-long tournament with Amine Ahouda of Morocco beating Moez Echaragui 6-0, 6-2 to win the boys’ singles title and Chiraz Bechri of Tunisia beating Rita Atik of Morocco 6-4, 6-2 in the girls’ singles.
Kenya’s Ibrahim Kibet in action during the just concluded Africa Nations Cup at Nairobi Club