Sil­ver for Kenyans

Changawa and Ki­bet set­tle for sec­ond place in men’s dou­bles

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports Local - BY WIL­LIAM NJU­GUNA @mbote­s­ports

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.

/ ENOS TECHE

Kenya’s Ibrahim Ki­bet in ac­tion dur­ing the just con­cluded Africa Na­tions Cup at Nairobi Club

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