Shujaa co-captain Tony Omondi reveals how Tokyo Olympics heartbreak fueled Paris 2024 dream

Kenya Sevens co-captains Tony Omondi and Vincent Onyala. Photo: World Rugby

Shujaa co-captain Tony Omondi reveals how Tokyo Olympics heartbreak fueled Paris 2024 dream

Joel Omotto 15:20 - 28.06.2024

Kenya Sevens co-captain Tony Omondi has shared how he bounced back from the disappointment of missing the Tokyo Olympics to help Shujaa earn a berth at the Paris 2024 Games.

Kenya Sevens co-captain Tony Omondi has explained how he had to cope with the heartbreak of missing out on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics when he had hoped to be in the team.

Omondi was among the unlucky players who did not make the cut, having trained so hard, but he recovered from the disappointment to help Shujaa seal qualification for the Paris 2024 Games against the odds.

“Missing the 2020 Olympics was a shock to me. We trained hard and every athlete who trains for the Games knows they have a chance. I also thought I had a chance,” Omondi told Olympics KE.

“Unfortunately, that was not the case at the end of the squad naming but I was lucky enough to have a good friend called Jacob Ojee who advised me to put my head down and work and that is what we did and came up on top by qualifying for 2024 Olympics in Harare.

“Mentally, you need to put yourself in a space where you have people who care about you around and ask for advice from those who have been there and were left out what did they do. It is easier when you have someone to support you, other than being alone. I did that and I got out of it quickly.”

Shujaa sealed qualification for the Paris Olympics following their relegation from the World Series when few people had given them a chance.

Kevin Wambua’s relatively young squad stormed to the final of the Africa Sevens before casting away favourites South Africa to earn a direct Olympics ticket and they would later fight hard to return to the World Series.

Heading to Paris, Omondi has narrated how emotional it was to qualify and is counting on the belief that saw them through to do the magic in France.

“After qualifying, it was awesome, people were crying and laughing. I knew I now have my second shot at the Olympics and it was a wholesome moment,” he added.

“Beating a team like South Africa was the icing on the cake for us. You never write a team off and we had six weeks to prepare for the qualifiers. The approach of the technical bench was different from previous ones and we had belief that we were the best and at the end of the day, we came out top in Africa.”

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