Oshwal Academy Nairobi breathes life to badminton

Oshwal Academy Nairobi is reviving Kenyan badminton, if their recent performance at the Badminton Confederations of Africa (BCA) All Africa School championships in Mauritius is anything to go by.

The girls made history for being the country’s first team to win silver at this level, after they fell 3-2 to Eunice High School of South Africa in the final.

Kenyan teams have failed to shine in badminton, often losing to Uganda, Nigeria and Mauritius. They have failed to go past preliminary stages in continental events and were forced to be spectators in the annual Kenya International badminton tournament.

Oshwal’s team made up of Shubhangi Majumder, Hetvi Haria, Mishali Patel, Deepali and Darshni Kotecha put up a commendable fight against South African sides, Zimbabwe and hosts Mauritius. They defeated all other teams, but fell twice to Eunice School- first in the round robin and later in the final.

Oshwal coach Martin Kanyange lauded his players saying they had done well and a second-place finish was huge improvement. “They did well given the standards of badminton are low in Kenya. They have improved and this shows it is possible and it can be done.”

Kanyange attributed the good performance to his improved coaching skills, having undergone a Badminton World Federation (BWF) Level One coaching course in Kampala. “The girls’ standards of play have gone up, but I have also improved. The BWF course coaching course has made me a better coach,” Mr Kanyange said.

The eight-time national secondary schools champions are now eyeing their first East Africa schools title in the 2015 games. Their main objective is to break the Ugandan dominance. During this year’s games, they were second after they lost to Uganda’s Rubaga Girls in the final.

Kanyange admitted it won’t be easy to triumph against the Ugandans, who have dominated the sport in senior tournaments. “Our main objective is to win East Africa title, but my girls know the Ugandans won’t let us have it easy.”

Even so, he was happy the good show in Mauritius proved his players had come of age and matured in the sport.