Sensational Okutoyi bags African tennis title, inches closer to historic Olympic qualification

21st March 2024

The Kenyan youngster now needs to be in the top 400 by 10 June to qualify for the Olympics.

Angella Okutoyi. PHOTO| Joe Mburu
Angella Okutoyi. PHOTO| Joe Mburu
  • Okutoyi defeated Egypt's Lamis Elhussein in the final.
  • The win meant that Okutoyi broke Kenya’s 46-year spell without a tennis gold medal.
  • Jane Davies-Doxzon was the first Kenyan who won gold in the 1978 African Games held in Algeria.

Kenya’s 20-year-old tennis sensation Angella Okutoyi went into the history books on Thursday 21 March 2024 as she bagged the African tennis title after beating Egypt’s Lamis Elhussein 6-4, 6-2 in the All-African Games Women’s Singles final staged in Accra, Ghana.

Just a day after recording her biggest upset yet when she beat the top seed and defending champion Mayar Sherif in the semis, Okutoyi went the full distance as she claimed the title with a commanding straight-set win.

Elhussein caused little trouble for Okutoyi in the first set as the Kenyan youngster won 6-4 to lay the perfect foundation for her win.

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The Egyptian took a brief 1-0 lead in the second set but Okutoyi quickly regained control of the tie as she got the job done with a 6-2 second set win that delivered the African crown.

The win meant that Okutoyi broke Kenya’s 46-year drought without a tennis gold medal as she became only the second Kenyan to achieve that feat since Jane Davies-Doxzon who won gold in the 1978 African Games held in Algeria.

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

Paul Wekesa (bronze in 1987 in Nairobi) and Saeed Cockar and Yashvin Shretta (bronze) in men's doubles in 1965 in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo are the other Kenyans who have managed to get medals in the African Games.

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The win also saw Okutoyi edge closer towards qualifying for the Olympics for the first time in her career as she now just needs to be in the top 400 Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) rankings by June 10 to book a spot in the Paris Olympics.

She was ranked in position 532 before the start of the African Games.

Meanwhile, Okutoyi will try to add onto her Singles title when she partners with compatriot Cynthia Cheruto in the Doubles finale.

The duo, who received a walkover in the semis, will come up against Egypt’s Merna Mostafa and Sandra Sameh.

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