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Uganda, Kenya win Gold at East African International tournament
It has taken Hannington Nsubuga eight years to play in his first ever final at the Castle Lite Beach Volleyball International. And he didn’t disappoint as he rolled back the years to eventually win gold without dropping a single set in his six games at Lido Beach Resort in Entebbe on Sunday.
Female Kenyan pair of Edinah Rotich and Juma Yelena won the women’s title after defeating Josephine Nammanda and Diana Agaba in straight sets (21-15, 21-15). Uganda hosted teams from Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda in the two day tournament.
Hannington Nsubuga / Isaac Omedo (UGA) beat Emmanuel Kato / Nicholas Dheyongera (UGA) 2-0 : 21-19, 21-18
Nsubuga, who was paired with Isaac Omedo, saw off Emmanuel Kato and Nicholas Dheyongera in straight sets in an all Uganda affair.
“It is a sweet victory,” said Nsubuga. “All the years have played beach volleyball, and such a big tournament coming this late in my career is really sweet."
A game filled with endless rallies all over the sand saw experience and endurance prevail over power as Nsubuga and Omedo needed 20 minutes to claim the first set 21-19. Nsubuga and Omedo kept on interchanging their services between Dheyongera and Kato, disorganizing the latter attacking strategy.
Kato and Dheyongera fancied the spiking technique as Nsubuga and Omedo continued to dump the ball in open spaces. With Nsubuga and Omedo leading 16-15, Kato served out, he later spiked out to give away an 18-15 lead. Kato and Dheyongera recovered to make it 19-17.
That is when Omedo pulled off a master block against Kato to serve for a match point. And they later won it 21-18 in nineteen minutes.
“It’s amazing,” said Omedo. “An international event is one you don’t win every weekend, it comes once a year."
Kato and Dheyongera didn’t seem to be disappointed at all.
“Our target was to play in the final, anything beyond that was going to be bonus to us,” Kato said.
Nsubuga and Omedo’s victory earned Uganda a fourth straight mens’s gold and sixth overall, but they also ended Ambrose Otwao and Dickens Otim’s reign. The latter had won the international tournament three straight times.
Edinah Rotich / Yelena Juma (KEN) beat Diana Agaba Tukundane / Josephine Nammanda (UGA) 2-0: 21-15, 21-12
Rotich and Yelena saw off Ugandan top seed Diana Agaba and Josephine Namnanda in straight sets (21-15, 21-15), in a match that the Ugandans put little resistance. “My first time to take part in this tournament, and finishing with gold is really remarkable,” said Rotich after the final.
She wasn’t even playing with her usual partner as Eunice Maiyo had league playoffs games here in Kenya. But what Yelena lacked in attack, she compensated that with good court cover, and reception.
“It’s not easy to pick a beach partner, but with Maiyo not available, Yelena gave her all, and the results speak for themselves,” added Rotich. Yelena and Rotich dropped only one set throughout the two day tournament.
Gold: Edinah Rotich / Yelena Juma (KEN)
Silver: Diana Agaba / Josephine Nammanda (UGA)
Bronze: Peace Busingye / Christine Alupo (UGA)