IN GULU, UGANDA
Kenya weathered stiff competition from Uganda to retain the overall team title at the 16th edition of the Brookside East Africa Secondary School Games that ended here in Gulu on Saturday.
The win saw Kenya beat her neighbours for the third year running with both teams tying on final medal tallying but nicking top spot due to more golds.
The country once again consolidated itself as the power house of talents after winning 11 gold medals, seven silver and 10 bronze despite losing some of the titles it had won during last year’s edition when the championships were held in Eldoret. Kenya ended with a final tally of 28 medals.
Since the inception of the games in 2002, Kenya has only lost the team title once in 2014 to Uganda when the championship were held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Hosts Uganda fell to their traditional second position after bagging nine gold medals, 12 silver and 7 bronze, as Rwanda came a distant third in the ranking having collected 3 gold, 3 silver and 3 bronze. Burundi, South Sudan and Tanzania took fourth, fifth and sixth positions respectively.
Among the trophies that Kenyan teams were unable to defend include boys’ volleyball, which was formerly held by Malava Boys, as Rwanda’s Rusumo emerged the new champions. boys’ football was for the 12th time won by Uganda’s St Mary’s Kitende after Kenya’s Barding relinquished it with Kenyan representatives failing to reach the final.
Star-studded Kakamega High School finished third to the disappointment of many fans. Girls’ basketball went to Uganda’s Buddo after 2017 champions Kaya Tiwi were eliminated in the semi-finals and scooped bronze.
During the 2016 edition, Kenya failed to win the girls ‘ football title as St John’s Kaloleni fell to former champions GS Rimera from Rwanda. However, Wiyeta Girls made amends and carried home the title after overpowering Uganda’s Kawempe 3-1 on post-match penalties.
Kenya successfully defended rugby 7s won by debutants Muhuri Muchiri, rugby 15s bagged by Laiser Hill Academy, hockey girls title retained by Sinyolo, and hockey boys for debutants Kisumu Day.
Ugandan carried football boys, netball and basketball girls as Rwanda got their consolation in basketball boys and volleyball boys. Kenya also reigned supreme in swimming but came second behind Uganda in athletics.
Speaking during closing ceremony graced by officials from the Kenyan and Ugandan Education and Sports Ministries, Federation of East Africa Secondary School Sports Association chairman Justus Mugisha lauded the champions for a job well done and sponsors Brookside for giving students an opportunity to showcase their potential.
“These games are unique since they are aimed at discovering and nurturing young talents. It’s our desire to see them grow bigger and bigger,” he said.
Brookside Marketing Manager Peter Wasonga expressed the company’s commitment in ensuring that East African students in secondary school distinguish themselves as professional sports personalities even after school.
“On behalf the sponsor’s it’s our please to be part of their noble initiative that has our children at heart and we look forward to continued partnership,” said Wasonga.
Cheating reared its ugly once again as two out of the three schools disqualified from the competition were found guilty of the vice. Kenya’s Cheptil, Uganda’s Rubaga were guilty of impersonation and age cheating while Kibuli caused an abandonment to a match.
Tanzania’s shadowy participation in the championship might as well have jeopardised their chances of hosting the next edition with organizers hinting that Kigali, Rwanda might the next destination.
Cheptil were found guilty of impersonation.