- The competition in the ever flooded middle-blocking department of the national women’s volleyball team Malkia Strikers has concerned Gladys Ekaru to work extra harder to cement her place.
She has conceded that competition for places in the department is high but was quick to note she is going the extra mile to be among the best and become a regular.
The team center players include Triza Atuka, Edith Wisa, Joan Chelagat, Violet Makuto, Caroline Sirengo, Shyrine Jepkemboi, and Lorine Chebet all battling for a place.
“The pressure is on. All the players in that position are good and therefore for one to make the cut, you need to have something extra,” Ekaru said.
“Luckily for me, I had to mature fast. I just cleared school in 2018, joined Kenya Pipeline in 2019, and in my first time of asking I was part of the team that featured in the African Clubs Championship in Egypt where I played alongside my role model Atuka. I’m slowly but surely learning the ropes,” she added.
The fast-rising Ekaru was part of the national team that participated in the Intercontinental Olympic qualifiers in Italy last August. Kenya lost all its matches against the hosts, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The 20-year old also made it to the team that successfully battled Nigeria, Botswana, Egypt, and Cameroon for the sole Tokyo Olympics ticket reserved for Africa during the qualifiers held in Yaounde early this year.
“It’s one thing to be part of the team that qualified for the Olympics and totally different thing to be in the team that will participate in the Games. I know it will be tough but I’m doing my individual training sessions to better myself and hopefully, the hard work will pay off once we resume training,” Ekaru concluded.
The Tokyo Games slated for July 24 to August 9 were postponed to July 23 to August 8 next year as coronavirus continues to bite. The East Africans Malkia Strikers, who will be returning to Olympics after 16-year hiatus are drawn in Pool ‘A’ alongside Japan, South Korea, Serbia, Dominican Republic, and Brazil.