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I will return ‘hungrier’ for the game -Atuka

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 29 – National Women’s Volleyball team middle blocker Triza Atuka has admitted being on the sidelines due to injury has made her miss playing volleyball, but said it will make her ‘hungrier’ for the game when she fully recovers.

Atuka, 28, has been out of action since October last year after undergoing a successful surgery on her left knee, following an injury when playing for her club Kenya Pipeline in the final leg of the Kenyan Volleyball Federation League in Kapsabet.

Since then, Atuka who was instrumental in aiding Malkia Strikers qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, is on her rehab journey under the watchful eye of Strength and Conditioning specialist, Geoffrey Kimani.

“I miss playing volleyball, but I am happy that the sport keeps growing and players keep on improving as we work on the same goal of succeeding. I always attend club training although I cannot play, I help the young players by giving them advise.

“Being on the sidelines is hard but it’s something that I have to accept because it’s not permanent. It will only get better in fact it’s even good because I feel hungrier to play again,” Atuka, who is an alumnus of Mukumu Girls revealed.

Atuka outlined that once she is fully fit, her priorities will be to guide Kenya Pipeline to reclaiming their glory back locally and in the continent.

“Once I fully recover and allowed to compete of course after coronavirus is over, the future is bright. Besides the Olympics we have league matches and my priority is my club, it’s my responsibility to help them win cups that we haven’t managed to win for some time like the club championship. We need to go back where we used to be,” the lanky volleyball star underscored.

The six-time Africa Club Championship winners last won the continental title in 2005 when they silenced Al Ahly of Egypt 3-0 in Nairobi while they last time they lifted the national title was in 2016, boasting 11 national titles.

-Rehab life-

On recovery, Atuka is pleased that she is improving every day and is keenly following the programme provided by the National Olympic Committee of Kenya Strength and Conditioning consultant, Kimani.

“It’s wonderful working with Kimani, so far it has been good because it’s another phase of working in the rehab specifically on Strength and Conditioning. We normally have a session once a week because of the effects of coronavirus.

“We have a programme with Kimani, who gives me exercises, specifically working on muscles. He follows up on my progress through the week to ensure that I’m following the programme,” Atuka said.

“I’m working on gaining muscles because being out of action for a long time the body becomes dormant so I can’t go straight to the gym. This week we have been working on gaining leg muscles then prepare to start gym work. At the beginning it was difficult because I felt some pain, but the body is now picking up,” Atuka, who said that it was her first time in her career to go undergo surgery, explained.

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-New blood-

Atuka encouraged volleyball clubs in the country and the national team to tap more young talent from schools so that the sport continues being successful.

“Having new players coming in the set-up is good for the sport because competition is healthy. Right now we have new talents coming from schools, if they focus on discipline and working hard, we are going to have a great national team even the clubs will improve,” Atuka, who was a skipper in his playing days at Mukumu Girls stated.

-BY RAYMOND MAKHAYA-

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