The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) on Thursday offered 18-year-old junior professional tennis player Angela Okutoyi flight tickets and kits as she heads to a five-week tournament which begins on Friday in Morocco then in Tunisia and finally in Egypt.
All three tournaments will be significant as she puts the remaining Grand Slam contests in her sights.
They include Roland-Garros (May), Wimbledon (June) and the US Open in September.
“We are delighted to have Angela. Her career is on an upward trajectory and we look forward to seeing what more she will achieve. She has an exceptional career ahead of her,” said NOC Athlete Representative Humphrey Kayange. K.
Okutoyi stepped forward to break down barriers and make history to become the second woman in Kenya to play in the Grand Slam after Judy Wakhungu and the first woman in Kenya to win a Junior Grand Slam match. The reigning 18-and-under junior Africa champion is ranked 57and in the world in the ITF Junior Rankings with a career high of 53.
“I want to thank the National Olympic Committee for funding the coach and me with tickets and for fully kitting us out as I head to the tournaments,” said Okutoyi, who has won three ITF World Tennis Tour titles. Junior last year.
NOC-K Athlete Rep @humphreykayange_ogw this afternoon introduced the first Kenyan woman to win a Grand Slam match @angella_okutoyi with kits and a plane ticket as she heads into a 5-week tournament .#TeamKenya pic.twitter.com/3OLrUkNd2X
— TeamKenya (@OlympicsKe) February 24, 2022
“My last week will be in Tunisia. I’m excited but I have one goal: to defend my title of African champion. My vision is clear,” she added.
Kayange, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes’ Commission, explained the IOC’s emphasis on supporting athletes included in the NOC-K legacy plan. “NOC-K is looking to diversify sports to increase its representation at Paris 2024 and the Youth Olympic Games Dakar 2026. We are delighted to support and champion Angela through Tennis Kenya.”
On the road to Paris 2024, NOC-K will support individuals and teams to help them qualify and train well for the Games. Okutoyi will hopefully be among other individual sports athletes to benefit from Olympic Solidarity program athlete scholarships. The Olympic scholarship will finance his monthly training and competition expenses over the period 2022-2024.