Changawa to miss AAG, replaced by Kotecha

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Sep 04, 2021
  • Sheil Kotecha has replaced Ishmael Changawa who is unable to be released from college to play at the All Africa Games. (SNA: File Photo)

Ismael Changawa, Kenya's tennis medal hopeful at this year’s All Africa Games has pulled out of the games.

Changawa who is the country's top ranked player pulled out of the four men's team for the games in Congo, Brazzaville,  after failing to obtain a release from his college-Seminole State College in Oklahoma, U.S.

Francis Mutuku, the Tennis Kenya vice chairman said they had tried all they can as a federation to secure a release for the player but it turned out to be difficult when the college felt that the AAG will be long for Changawa to miss school.

“It’s really unfortunate that we will not be having Changawa at the games,” Mutuku said. He added: We started the process of getting his release after naming the squad to the games with the hope that he will be released but the college felt that the game will be too long for him to miss classes." Changawa is at the college on a full tennis scholarship.

Mutuku stated  the college was willing to release him for shorter events in future as they have done in the past. “We felt its better for him to miss the AAG and have him nuture his talent and at the same time have him gain academically. I am sure at the school he will have more opportunities to play at the highest level," Mutuku said .

The development came three weeks after Changawa successfully defended the Kenya Open Tennis championships at Nairobi Club. He beat former champion Edgar Kazembe in the final.

His performance in the championships had given Tennis Kenya high hopes of a medal in the games and Mutuku said his absence was a big blow for Kenya. "We expected him to finish in the medal bracket at the games. We've been shot in the leg but the remaining players are equally up to the challenge," said Mutuku.

Changawa who had received a wild card for the games has been replaced by Sheil Kotecha. Other members in the men's squad are Ibrahim Kibet, Faizal Khan and Kevin Cheruiyot.

The women's side has Changawa's younger sister Shufaa, Caroline Oduor, Paige Mbugua and Judy Nkatha. The team leaves for Congo on Monday.