Alexandra Ndolo reveals how her mother flew Kenya’s flag during her historic Olympics qualification journey

Alexandra Ndolo

Alexandra Ndolo reveals how her mother flew Kenya’s flag during her historic Olympics qualification journey

Joel Omotto 16:10 - 02.04.2024

Fencer Alexandra Ndolo has described the sacrifices her mother had to make to ensure she made history by qualifying for the Olympics after inadequate support from Kenyan federation.

German-born Kenyan fencer Alexandra Ndolo has described how her mother has had to come to her rescue to help her realise her dream of qualifying for the Olympics.

Ndolo made history by sealing her ticket to the Paris Games after finishing 11th at her final qualification tournament in Nanjing, China last month, ending March as the highest-ranked African.

She needed to be the top ranked fencer on the continent by the end of April to seal an Olympics ticket for Kenya and after her latest performance, she is now 15th on the International Fencing Federation world ranking with the next African being Algeria's Ines El Batoul Taleb, who is ranked 41st globally.

However, her qualification journey has been punctured with many setbacks, having to miss some events because she had not been registered despite arriving at the match venues on time, while she also complained of the Kenya Fencing Federation and the government not honouring an earlier pledges to support her.

Ndolo had to use her money to fund most of her trips to ensure she did not miss out but once she run out of money, her mother had to step in.

“I have to pay massive respect and big shootout to my mother because once I ran out of money, my mum took over. At the moment, my sweet lovely Polish-born mother is raising the Kenyan flag high,” Ndolo told NTV.

“The joy I think and I can bring to people never made me regret the decision to switch to Kenya. She is happy that I am making this dream come true I wanted to go to the Olympics since I was 10. But like every mother when I was really distraught, crying she was worried.”

Ndolo, who has a Kenyan father and Polish mother, switched allegiance to her father’s country in July 2022 after representing her nation of birth Germany for 15 years.

She received official confirmation and approval from the International Olympic Committee to represent Kenya at the Paris Olympics last June, the news coming just a day after emerging as the African champion.

However, things did not go as she had hoped after receiving promises of funding from her mother federation in Kenya and the government.

“Being away meant I was relying on different things that were told to me and I think that is why I had different expectations coming in because in the beginning, it was like prove yourself then we will give the same funds as the system you had in Germany,” she added.

“In the German system, if you are on the highest level, they pay for everything and give you an allowance but I understand that is not possible in Kenya and had I been told that from the beginning, that it is not about proving myself and that we are a lot of athletes and the funds need to be spread equally, it was a miscommunication that I want to solve now.

“There were two moments in the last one-and-half-years I thought this was the breaking point because you have trained for weeks and months and you organise everything, including logistics, and land somewhere and you are not even registered.

“It was really frustrating because we had 10 competitions that count and imagine now you only have nine and you have the other African ladies breathing down your neck gunning for your spot. That was a difficult moment.”

At the height of her frustration, Ndolo went on a social media meltdown, accusing the powers that be for lying to her. However, the local fencing federation responded by terming her ‘unreasonable and sulking,’ words that still hurt her to date.

“No one likes to be called out and I think those comments were made out of frustration and maybe a bruised ego because I have known the president of the federation for a long time,” said Ndolo.

“He knows me from bringing in clothing donations 10 years ago. I helped to register the federation. I think it is also difficult because we are still a baby federation and we were only acknowledged by NOC-K in 2019.

“The federation did not have time to find out how international federation works and all of a sudden you have this high-level player who says this is what we need to qualify for Olympics, so some people were just overwhelmed. It was just a lot to learn in a short amount of time.”

Nevertheless, Ndolo has put all the frustrations behind her and she is now focused on her participation at the Olympics where she is aiming for gold.

The 37-year-old has lined up a number of events around the globe against some of the world’s top players which will keep her in good shape before heading to Paris.

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