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Kenya swimmers for Rabat have to make up for ‘blank’ in Brazzaville; Dunford boys sorely missed

CURRENT Kenya swimmers have a tough act to follow. The best the country has ever produced – Jason and David Dunford – are no longer competing. They were the last heroes; winning medals at the 2007 and 2011 African Games as well the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

The two Dunford boys, Jason, now 32 and David, 30, were world-class, having taken swimming to the highest seriousness in school and college; their aim, to compete with the best in the world. They held their own at world events around the globe.

Above: Kenya’s all-time swimming icon Jason Dunford pumps the air after briefly setting a 100m butterfly record (51.14) in Beijing, 2008. Top: In Kasarani, Nairobi, at the Kenya trials for the 12th African Games, Sylvia Tanya Atieno Brunlehner is off the mark. Photos/MOHAMMED AMIN, attached to Team Kenya both Games

Above: Kenya’s all-time swimming icon Jason Dunford pumps the air after briefly setting a 100m butterfly Olympic record (51.14) in Beijing, 2008. Top: April 2019 in Kasarani, Nairobi, at the Kenya trials for the 12th African Games, Sylvia Tanya Atieno Brunlehner is off the mark. Photos/MOHAMMED AMIN

They are the measure under which the current Team Kenya crop will be held. In the 2015 African Games in Congo Brazzaville, the absence of the Dunford was already showing; Kenya, after the successes of Algiers (2007) and Maputo (2011), failing to win a medal.

The team prepares for the African Games in Rabat, Morocco – August 19-31, 2019 – with expectation that they will improve on the Brazzaville ‘blank’ outing. Team Kenya to the 12th African Games has been constituted in most of 26 disciplines on the Morocco programme and is expected to go into a three-week residential camp domestically before travelling to Rabat. It is expected to comprise 400 participants and management.

For the swimmers, it will be  a daunting task to match Kenya’s performance in 2007 and 2011, mostly courtesy of the Dunford boys whose top -track record is as below:

JASON DUNFORD:

2007 All-Africa Games, Algiers:

Gold (3):

  • 50m fly
  • 100m fly
  • 200m fly

Silver (2):

  • 50m free
  • 100m back

Bronze (3):

  • 50m back
  • 100m free
  • 200m free

Jason Dunford (facing camera) and brother David celebrate after anchoring the 4x100m freestyle relay team to an All Africa Games bronze medal at the Zembeto Stade in Mozambique on 8 September 2011.The team set a new Kenya national record. Photo/MOHAMMED AMIN attached to Team Kenya

Jason Dunford (back to camera) and brother David celebrate after anchoring the 4x100m freestyle relay team to an All Africa Games bronze medal at the Zembeto Stade in Mozambique on 8 September 2011. The quartet set a new Kenya national record. Photo/MOHAMMED AMIN, attached to Team Kenya

2011 All-Africa Games, Maputo:

Gold (2):

  • 50m fly
  • 100m fly

Silver (3):

  • 50m back
  • 100m free
  • 200m fly

Bronze (5):

  • 50m free
  • 4x100m free relay (Jason Dunford, David Dunford, Rama Vyombo, Kiptolo Boit)
  • 4x200m free relay (David Dunford, Amar Shah, Kiptolo Boit, Jason Dunford)
  • 4x100m medley relay (David Dunford, Amar Shah, Jason Dunford, Rama Vyombo)

2010 Commonwealth Games, New Delhi:

Gold (1):

  • 50m fly

2008 Olympics, Beijing:

Jason Dunford competed in two events. In the 100m freestyle heats, finished 24th overall, missing the semi-finals. He did, however, set a new national record of 49.06.

Bronze for Kenya, 4x100m medley relay, All-Africa Games at Zempeto Acquatic Centre, Maputo, Mozambique September 11, 2011. From left: Jason Dunford, Amar Shah, David Dunford, Rama Vyombo. Photo/MOHAMMED Amin, attached to Team Kenya

Bronze for Kenya, 4x100m medley relay, All-Africa Games at Zempeto Acquatic Centre, Maputo, Mozambique September 11, 2011. From left: David Dunford, Amar Shah, Jason Dunford, Rama Vyombo. Photo/MOHAMMED Amin, attached to Team Kenya

In his main event, the 100m butterfly, he qualified for the semi-finals, posting a new Olympic record of 51.14, and simultaneously bettering his own African record. The previous Olympic record (51.25) was set by Michael Phelps at the 2004 Olympics.

Dunford’s Olympic record did not last long; just a few minutes later Milorad Čavić of Serbia recorded 50.76, followed by two other swimmers (including Phelps) who beat Dunford’s time.  He reached the final and finished fifth by swimming 51.47.

DAVID DUNFORD:

2011 All-Africa Games, Maputo:

Gold (1):

  • 100m free

Silver (1):

  • 50m free

Bronze (3):

  • 4x100m free relay (Jason Dunford, David Dunford, Rama Vyombo, Kiptolo Boit)
  • 4x200m free relay (David Dunford, Amar Shah, Kiptolo Boit, Jason Dunford)
  • 4x100m medley relay (David Dunford, Amar Shah, Jason Dunford, Rama Vyombo)

Here is a glance at some of those who will comprise 12th AFRICAN GAMES Team Kenya swimming:

Name: Rebecca Wacui KAMAU

Date of Birth: 21/07/1999; Age: 19

County, place of birth: Nairobi, Kenya

Place of current residence: Solihull, UK

College: Northwestern University (Class of 2021), USA

Occupation: Student

Family: One older brother, Mum and Dad

Sport: Swimming

Event (s): 50/100/ 200 Breaststroke, 200 IM

Highest honours: First Kenya female to make semi-final at a World Championships and achieve Olympics ‘B’ qualifying standard

Other favourite sport: Football

Favourite place in Kenya: Mombasa

Favourite place in world: London

Favourite book read: ‘The Kite Runner’

Hobbies: Fashion, art

Rebeca Kamau competes in the girls’ 200m individual medley during the 2019 Kenya Swimming Federation national trials at the Kasarani Aquatic Arena, April 14, 2019. Photo/MOHAMMED AMIN

Rebeca Kamau competes in the girls’ 200m individual medley during the 2019 Kenya Swimming Federation national trials at the Kasarani Aquatic Arena, April 14, 2019. Photo/MOHAMMED AMIN

Name: Emily MUTETI 

Date of Birth: 14/06/1998; Age: 21

Place of birth: Mombasa County

Current residence: Phoenix, Arizona, USA

College: Grand Canyon University (Class of 2021)

Family: 4 siblings

Sport: Swimming

Event (s): 50m/100m butterfly, freestyle

Highest honours: CANA [Africa] zone 3&4

Other favourite sport: Athletics

Favourite place in Kenya: Diani

Favourite place rest of world: USA

Favourite book read: Pride and Prejudice’

Hobbies: Socialising, exercising, travelling

Emily Muteti competes in the girls’ 200m individual medley at the 2019 KSF nationals swimming trials at the Kasarani, April 14, 2019. Photo/MOHAMMED AMIN

Emily Muteti competes in the girls’ 200m individual medley at the 2019 KSF nationals swimming trials, Kasarani, April 14, 2019. Photo/MOHAMMED AMIN

Name: Maria Chantal BRUNLEHNER

Date of Birth: 01/04/2000 Age: 19

Place of birth: Mombasa, Kenya

Current residence: Potsdam, Germany

 College: Sportschule Potsdam

 Occupation: Student

Family: 2 siblings

Sport: Swimming

Events: 50m/100m freestyle/breaststroke, 200m individual medley

Highest honours: Algeria 2018 Youth Africa Games: 2 gold medals 1 silver

  • Participant Ccommonwealth Games

Favourite place in Kenya: Diani, Lamu

Favourite place rest of world: Thailand, Spain, South Africa

Favourite book read: ‘The Golden Compass’, ‘The Subtle Knife’, ‘The Amber Spyglass’, ‘Three Dark Crowns’ 

Hobbies: Football, Reading, Music

Maria Brunlehner during the 2019 KSF national trials at Kasarani Aquatic Arena, April 14, 2019. Photo/MOHAMMED AMIN

Maria Brunlehner during the 2019 KSF national trials at Kasarani Aquatic Arena, April 14, 2019. Photo/MOHAMMED AMIN

Name: Sylvia Tanya Atieno BRUNLEHNER

Sylvia Brunlenher competes in the KSF national trials at the Kasarani Aquatic Arena, April 14, 2019. Photo/MOHAMMED AMIN

Sylvia Brunlehner competes in the KSF national trials at the Kasarani Aquatic Arena, April 14, 2019. Photo/MOHAMMED AMIN

 Date of birth: 13.02.1994; Age: 25

Place of birth: Mombasa, Kenya

Current residence: Brandenburg, Germany

College: Medizinische Hochschule Brandenburg

Occupation: Student

Family:  2 sisters

Sport: Swimming

Events: 50m, 100m Backstroke; 50m Freestyle

Other favourite sport: Volleyball, Muay Thai

Favourite place in Kenya: Diani coast, Mombasa County

Favourite place in the world: Thailand

Favourite book read: ‘Tell No One’ by Harlan Coben

Hobbies: Films, cooking, dancing

Sylvia Brunlehner left Emily Muteti and Maria Brunlehner l display their medals during the 2019 KSF Nationals Swimming Trials at the Kasarani aquatic Arena on Sunday April 14, 2019. Photo/MOHAMMED AMIN/www.SportsPot.com

From left; Sylvia Brunlehner, Emily Muteti and Maria Brunlehner display their medals during the 2019 KSF national swimming trials at the Kasarani Aquatic Arena, Nairobi, April 14, 2019. Photo/MOHAMMED AMIN

Name: Imara-Bella THORPE

Date of Birth: 20/02/2001 Age: 18

County, place of birth: Poole, UK

Place of current residence: Nairobi

School: Millfield School Somerset, UK

Occupation: Student

Family: 2 siblings

Sport: Swimming

Event (s): 50m100m backstroke, 100m/50m fly, 200m freestyle

Highest honours: National age group championship winner; Gold, Silver and Bronze at CANA (Africa) championships

Other favourite sport: Horse riding, triathlon

Favorite place in Kenya: Tsavo West National Park

Favorite place in world: Tsavo West National Park, Kenya

Favorite book read: ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’

Hobbies: Art, piano, riding horses, Yoga, listening to music

Thorpe Imara Bela competes in the girls 50 LC Breastsroke during the 2019 KSF Nationals Swimming Trials at the Kasarani aquatic Arena on Sunday April 14, 2019. Photo/MOHAMMED AMIN/www.SportsPot.com

Imara-Bella Thorpe competes in the girls’ 50m breaststroke during the 2019 KSF national trials at the Kasarani Aquatic Arena, April 14, 2019. Photo/MOHAMMED AMIN

 

Other favourite sport: Netball

Favourite place in Kenya: Nanyuki

Favourite place in world: Kenya

Favourite book read: H is for Hawk’

Hobbies: Learning Korean, dancing, watching

Name : Swaleh Abubakar TALIB

Date of Birth: 16/05/2000; Age: 19

County, place of birth: Nairobi

Place of current residence: Stirling, Scotland

College: University of Stirling (Class of 2023), Scotland

Occupation :Student

Family: 2 sisters, 2 brothers

Sport : Swimming

Event (s): 50m/100m backstroke, freestyle

Highest honours:  2015 Africa junior championships finalist, Egypt; 2015 World junior championships participant, Singapore; 2019 World University Games, Napoli participant

Other favourite sport: Football

Favourite place in Kenya: Mombasa

Favourite place in world: Home, where my family is

Favourite book read: Kensuke’s Kingdom’ by Michael Morpurgo

Hobbies: Getting sleep, getting massages, going to the spa (sauna, steam room, etc)

Swaleh Abubaker Talib in competition

Swaleh Abubaker Talib in competition

 

Name: Ridhwan Abubakar MOHAMED

Ridhwan Abubakar Mohamed of Bandari Club during national swimming trials, men 400m individual medley relay at Kasarani Aquatic Stadium, April 13, 2019. Photo/MOHAMMED AMIN

Ridhwan Abubakar Mohamed of Bandari Club during national swimming trials, men 400m individual medley relay at Kasarani Aquatic Stadium, April 13, 2019. Photo/MOHAMMED AMIN

 

D.o.B: 15/08/2000 Age 18

Place of birth: Mombasa County

Current residence: Plymouth, England  (United Kingdom)

College: University of Plymouth, England (Class of 2022)

Occupation: Student

Family: One brother, one sister

Sport: Swimming

Events: 50m, 100m fly/100m free

Highest honours:

  • FINA World championships 2016 Canada
  • FINA World championships 2018 China
  • Africa Youth Games 2018 Algeria
  • Summer World University Games 2019 Italy

Other favourite sport: Football

Favourite place in Kenya: Diani, South Coast

Favourite place in rest of world: Italy, Spain

Hobbies: Chilling on an ice cold drink in the sun

Name: Samuel Kariuki NDONGA

Samuel K Ndoga competes in 100m breaststroke during the KSF Age group Championship at Aquatic Centre Kasarani , February 25, 2018. Photo/Mohammed Amin

Samuel K Ndonga competes in 100m breaststroke during the KSF Age group Championship at Aquatic Centre, Kasarani, February 25, 2018. Photo/Mohammed Amin

Date of Birth: 17/01/1998; Age 21

Place of birth: Nairobi

Current residence: Nairobi

SCollege: University of Northampton, UK

Occupation: Student

Family: Brother and sister

Sport: Swimming

Event (s): 50m/100m Breaststroke

Highest honours: Cana [Africa] Zone 4 Zimbabwe (6 medals)

Other favorite sport: Golf

Favourite place in Kenya: Diani, South Coast

Favourite place in rest of world: Song Saa, Cambodia

Favourite book read: Originals’ by Adam Grant

Hobbies: Golf, reading books, forex trading

Name : Issa Abdalla MOHAMED

Date of Birth: 01/03/1995; Age: 24

Place of birth: Mombasa

Current residence: Plymouth, United kingdom

College: University of Plymouth  (post graduate – Masters in finance and investments)

Occupation: Student

Family: 2 siblings.

Sport: Swimming

Event (s): 50m/100m butterfly and freestyle

Highest honours: 2 times Commonwealth Games participant; finalist in All African Games

Other favourite sport: Football, Rugby

Favourite place in Kenya: Lamu.

Favourite place in world: Kenya

Favourite book read: The Chimp Paradox’

Hobbies: Avid reader, occasional dancer

Name: Maahir Abdulkadir Harunani

Date of Birth: 19-08-1999 ; Age (19)

Place of birth: Mombasa, Mombasa County

Place of current residence: Mombasa, Kenya

College: Jeffery College Mombasa

Family: 3 brothers

Sport : Swimming

Event (s): 200m fly, 100m fly, 200m IM

Highest honours: Won 9 medals and all gold (CASA gala)

Other favourite sport: Soccer

Favourite place in Kenya: Mombasa

Hobbies: Water sports

Fakhry Al Mamry: Head coach Team Kenya Swimming

Fakhry Al Mamry: Head coach Team Kenya Swimming

FULL TEAM KENYA SWIMMING:

(Rabat, Morocco Aug 19-31, 2019)

WOMEN:
1 Emily S Muteti
2 Maria Brunlenher
3 Rebecca Kamau
4 Imara-Bella Thorpe
5 Sylvia Brunlenher
MEN:
1 Ridhwan Abubaker B Mohamed
2 Issa A  Abdalla Mohammed
3 Mahir Harunani
4 Samuel K Ndonga
5 Swaleh Abubaker Talib
-Additional reporting by Media Dept, Team Kenya 12th African Games

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