Joined: 03 Jul 2018
|Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 3:39 am Post subject: my ears perked up
NAIROBI， Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's golden era in basketball when the country was considered a regional and continental powerhouse was in the 1970s and 1980s during which both the men's and women's teams reigned supreme.
However， due to lack of a solid and focused youth program to feed develop basketball talent and feed the national team with players， the game took a nose-dive.
""Many good players begin playing basketball in high school， which is a very later stage compared to powerhouses like Angola and Senegal. In sports， there is a direct correlation between age and success，"" former national team player， Moses Maloba told Xinhua on Wednesday.
There has always been talent in the basketball in the country， however since great players such as Ronnie Owino， Smarts Olumbo， Big Sam Omole， Isaac Omole and Lawi Odera retired from the game， their replacements have been very hard to come by.
The women have also produced good players like Queen Olumbo， Caroline Omamo， Phoebe Orimba， Nasila Achieng， Susan Kariuki and Wilkister Oduor.
Most of these players joined the coaching ranks， but have not been able to transfer their expertise to their charges， giving rise to fears that the game's best moments could be over.
Kenya Basketball Federation's fixtures secretary， Joseph Amoko said basketball in Kenya has largely suffered because of being ignored by the government in favor of football， athletics， volleyball and rugby.
""The sport has suffered and continues to suffer because of being overlooked. Teams participating in international tournaments are usually less prepared before and during games compared to their opponents，"" Amoko noted.
National teams generally convene for practice sessions less than two weeks before competitions compared to their opponents who begin preparations earlier and present their best players even if it means recalling them from overseas where they play professional basketball or attend college.
Teams also travel to regional tournaments by bus during which they endure long arduous trips and spend nights in dingy lodgings during competitions.
""Instead of giving their best during the games， the players have to fight off fatigue， soreness and low self-esteem which put them at great disadvantage to their competitors who are booked in decent hotels where they are well taken care of， which makes them give their best，"" a national team player who requested anonymity told Xinhua.
Kenya took part at the FIBA Africa Championship in 1985 where the country emerged 12th overall; 1987 All Africa Games (4th); FIBA Africa Championship 1989 (11th); and FIBA Africa Championship in 1993 (4th).
" Standing on stage at St. Bart's Square in central London T. J. Oshie Womens Jersey , looking out over 14,000 cheering fans, all I could think was, "How does a guy like me get to a place like this?"
It was June 2001, and I was performing alongside world-renowned artists like Tony Bennett and Paul McCartney as part of the celebration of Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee. I was undoubtedly more awestruck than any audience member at the event. I had only started singing the year before, the professional culmination of an indescribable emotional and psychological journey that started in the spring of 1997, when I underwent gastric bypass surgery.
I sported a size 40 regular canary yellow zoot suit for the Queen's concert, strutting confidently back and forth across the stage as I sang big band classics to an audience of thousands. Five years and one month prior, those few steps would have left me gasping for air. Back then, I weighed exactly 400 pounds, and I had lost all hope. My life had become unmanageable. I checked myself into the hospital and declared "physical bankruptcy" as I turned my body over to the experts-a team of doctors and nurses who offered me a one-time chance to start over.
Like many gastric bypass surgery patients, I had been overweight most of my life. As a child I was euphemistically called "husky," and I managed to use my weight to my advantage by playing football starting in the second grade. But by middle school, the coaches had to move me up a league level because I was heavier than the other children my age. In the next league, my teammates just called me fat, and I was relegated to the position of benchwarmer. I couldn't have been more miserable.
After high school, I entered in the Navy in hopes I could see the world and all it had to offer. Not long after boot camp, I was stationed in far northern Japan as a liaison between the military police and the local Japanese law enforcement. For a bit of fun and exercise, I signed up for the base football team. Ironically, a month later the city mayor and base commander were watching a game when they struck upon the wild idea of recruiting me into the sport of sumo. (You know, the fat guys in diapers?) I went to my first practice the very next day and was on the amateur sumo wrestling circuit a few weeks later, serving as a sort of goodwill ambassador to Japan while competing in cities across the country.
My salvation came one morning as I was getting ready for work. I was listening to Good Morning America on the television as I went about my usual routine, and my ears perked up as Charlie Gibson read a report about a radical new surgery for the morbidly obese. I immediately read everything I could get my hands on about this new gastric bypass technique, and I eventually qualified for the surgery after being diagnosed with sleep apnea. Three months after hearing the report on the morning news, I was admitted in the hospital having weight loss surgery.
After weight loss surgery, the weight truly just melted away. I lost nearly 200 pounds in a year's time and could not believe the transformation I was seeing right before my own eyes as I dropped down from a waist size of 56 inches to just 34 i.