NAIROBI, Kenya, June 11 – Competing in a rare sport, Kenya’s sole representative in Kiteboarding at the upcoming inaugural Africa Beach Games in Cape Verde, John Koyiet Nzioka, is determined to leave a mark when he takes it to the waters from June 14-23.
Nzioka has for the past two weeks pitched camp in Mombasa intensifying his training where he will compete in the Kiteboard racing at the first continental games that will also serve as the qualifiers for the World Beach Games scheduled for October.
Cruising in a 20 board of 130cm X 40cm and flying a 12 meters kite, Nzioka, weighing 78kg, revealed that it has not been an easy ride converting the sport from being leisure to competitive.
“After finishing High School, I embarked on engaging myself in being a Kiteboarding instructor to tourists because I liked sailing sport since when I was young. Later on, I took it to the high level of being competitive, registering in local tournaments that I won, this motivated me to take the sport serious,” Nzioka underscored.
He added; “Training has been a challenge because I am alone, if I have a team to train with I could have pushed myself further because I lack that person to encourage me and push me, but despite that I am ready to post good result and write history as the first Kenyan to win a medal in the sport,” Nzioka, who trains himself by looking at videos in YouTube, outlined.
He will launch his campaign June 19, five days after the other games have commenced, an opportunity that will see him have enough time to train.
“I will give it my all in Cape Verde and I am sure I will be ready by the time the games start, I have been in camp for two weeks, working on improving on my speed and the technical part of handling the kite,” Nzioka said.
However, he expects stiff challenge from seasoned athletes around Africa especially from the hosts Cape Verde who will have the home weather conditions advantage.
“In East Africa, we are used to warm waters and Indian Ocean is not rough compared to Atlantic Ocean where the tournament will be held, maybe the cold there could be a challenge, but I am not worried because I will prepare adequately,” He further noted.
Another challenge that he has been facing is the acquisition of the sport gear which is expensive with the full kit selling at at-least Ksh 230,000 (€2000) and he has called on the national and county governments to invest in the sport since it will boost the tourism sector as well.
“We need the County Governments in Coast region to support the sport financially to make it popular. I also urge the schools to introduce this game because our beaches are lovely, the wind is super conducive for kiteboarding.
A total of 54 countries will compete in the continental assignment that will involve 11 different sports with up to 1000 athletes expected to descend on the island of Sal.
The games will get underway with the Beach Handball, Beach Tennis, Karate as well as Rowing and Canoeing on 14th June 2019.