Roest leads Kenya’s gold medal rush in Angola

By evelyn watta
May 09, 2021
  • The Kenya team competing in the CANA zone four championships in Angola.(Photo:Couresty)

  • Edward Roest(in red)on the podium after he won the gold in the 50m backstroke at the CANA zone four championships in Angola.

Edward Roest put on an impressive display at the Confederation of African Swimming zone four championships in Luanda, Angola grabbing four gold medals in the 50m freestyle and in the 50m,100m and 200m Backstroke events.

Kenya’s team of 20 swimmers have so far amassed seven gold medals and a total of 609 points for third behind South Africa and the hosts Angola. Nine countries are competing in thefour day championships that began on Wednesday.

Roest silver winner at last year’s championships held in Uganda put up a great fight in the 100m back stroke for boys under 12, coming home in 1:14.00 improving on his silver from last year.

South African Felix Maseko took the silver in 1:16.75 while Angola’s Salvador Gordo was third in 1:17.46.Ted Nightangle the other Kenyan in the event ranked 11th in 1:27.26.

Earlier on Thursday, Roest had tapped the wall first in 33.82 in the 50m backstroke edging out home favourite Salvador Gordo (33.85) and Zambia’s Brandon Rumball(34.77).

Jono Opande from Kenya dropped to 10th in 39.34 but stepped up his performance to win silver in the men’s 12 and under 100m breaststroke.

Friday was another brilliant day for Roest in the Luanda pool as he picked two gold medals in the 200m backstroke in 2:42.30 and in the 50m free style in 28.80.

The Kenton college student also had his best swims in the 200m freestyle where he improved his personal best by about 48 seconds to 2:31.65, in the 50m Butterfly from 34.75 to 33.07, and also swam in the relay events where Kenyan teams notably bettered their times.

Golds for Pragassa, Kira

Commonwealth games contender Tory Pragassa who is also captaining the Kenyan team won the men’s 17 years and over 50m breaststroke in 30.12 ahead of Angolan Joaa Aguiar(30.83) and South African Sphephelo Ntaka(32.79). Pragassa picked his second championship medal a silver in the 200m breaststroke in 2:38.05 behind Angolan Pedro Pinotes 2:25.56. His teammate Samuel Ndonga set a personal best of 2:57.96 in fifth. Pragassa who is based in Mombasa won bronze in the 50m freestyle in 24.65 and in the 50m fly in 27.17.

Kira Evans picked gold in the 50m back stroke in the girls 15-16 category in 33.46, added silver in the 200m back stroke in 2:40.84 before adding bronze in 1:14.17.Imara Bella Thorpe boosted Kenya’s medal haul with a silver in the girls 13-14m 50m fly in 31.37, another in the 100m fly and bronze in the 400m free relay. Performances that stirred the Kenyan team who are preparing for the African games set for September in Congo.

“This is a good build up for the games as we are competing against tough teams in Africa. We are encouraged by the results that help us gauge where the swimmers stand at the moment,” said Carol Nzioki the team manger in Angola who is also the Competitions Secretary of the Kenya Swimming Federation.

Kira and Pragassa have already confirmed their tickets to Congo. Swalet Talib won the boys 13-14 50m freestyle in 26.39 amd added bronze in the 200m back stroke in 2:31.94.

Ostman won silver in the girls’ 15-16 years 200m breaststroke in 3:01.53 before clinching bronze in the 100m where she timed 1:24.54.

Emily Belcher settled for bronze in the girls 13-14 category in 1:14.89 and was part of the bronze winning team in 14 and under 400m freestyle relay team alongside Virginia Okumu, Kiira Geheb and Virginia Okumu.