Kenya national men and women’s Roll Ball teams overcame insurmountable odds faced during preparations to scoop respectable bronze medals as the fourth Roll Ball World Cup concluded in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Wednesday.
The men’s team clinched the third spot after making light work of hosts Bangladesh by winning 7-1 to improve on their fourth place finish in the 2015 edition held in Pune, India.
It was the best ever finish for the hosts since the inaugural event in 2011.
Earlier Kenya had fallen to defending champions India in the semi finals, going down 10-4.
In the women’s category, 2015 champions Kenya defeated Senegal 8-1 to seal the third spot. The impressive Kenyans were upset 2-3 by Iran in the semi-finals to concede for the first time in four games.
Team manager Musa Kaguli termed the losses as ‘devastating’ given their lofty standards. “It was devastating to lose against Iran even though it was a difficult match. We wanted nothing short of retaining the title. I am proud of the team given the tough circumstances we faced coming into the tournament,” Kaguli said.
It was not all rosy for the Kenyan teams who endured a torrid time while preparing for the tournament including being denied access to proper training facilities at Kasarani Stadium.
Their relatively good performance invokes a thought of how their fortunes would have panned out had they been offered even basic support by the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts.
On the final day, it was seventh heaven for Indian men and women’s teams as they both won gold after defeating their Iranian counterparts in closely contested finals.
The men’s team retained the title following a narrow 8-7 win at the Mirpur Indoor Stadium. On paper, it was a befitting feat for the India men’s side given that they scored a competition record of 117 goals in eight games.
This included a 40-0 win over Zambia, the highest recorded of a single game in World Cup history.
India women’s team, the 2015 losing finalists clinched title after defeating Iran 6-4.
Men, results (Wednesday)
Semifinals: Kenya 4 India 10; Bangladesh 3 Iran 11.
Third/fourth place: Kenya 7 Bangladesh 1.
Final: India 8 Iran 7.
Women, results (Wednesday)
Semifinals: Kenya 2 Iran 3, Senegal 2 India 8.
Third/fourth place: Kenya 8 Senegal 1.
Final: India 6 Iran 4