Okutoyi’s Sensational Win Edges Her Closer to Historic Olympic Qualification in African Tennis Circuit

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Kenya’s 20-year-old tennis sensation Angella Okutoyi made history by breaking Kenya’s 46-year drought without a tennis gold medal. She secured the African tennis title after defeating Egypt’s Lamis Elhussein 6-4, 6-2 in the All-African Games Women’s Singles final held in Accra, Ghana on Thursday, 21 March 2024.

In the first set, Elhussein caused little trouble for Okutoyi as the Kenyan youngster won 6-4, establishing a solid foundation for her ultimate victory. This triumph marked a significant milestone for Okutoyi, making her only the second Kenyan to achieve this feat since Jane Davies-Doxzon, who won gold in the 1978 African Games held in Algeria.

Okutoyi, a USA-based student, had previously made history by becoming the first Kenyan to win a Grand Slam when she secured the 2022 Wimbledon Girls Doubles title. She follows in the footsteps of Doxzon and Susan Wakhungu, who won gold and silver respectively in singles in 1978 in Algeria.

In addition to Okutoyi’s achievement, a few other Kenyan players have managed to secure medals in the African Games, including Paul Wekesa, who won bronze in 1987 in Nairobi, and Saeed Cockar and Yashvin Shretta, who secured bronze in men’s doubles in 1965 in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. With a pre-game ranking of 532, Okutoyi’s win at the African Games has brought her considerable recognition.

Looking ahead, she is set to compete in the Doubles finale alongside her compatriot Cynthia Cheruto. The duo, who advanced to the finals with a walkover in the semis, will face off against Egypt’s Merna Mostafa and Sandra Sameh, as they strive to add to Okutoyi’s Singles title with a Doubles victory.

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