Angella Okutoyi discloses reasons behind decision to join US college over turning pro

Angella Okutoyi during a match at Alabama-based Auburn University. Photo: Angella Okutoyi X

Angella Okutoyi discloses reasons behind decision to join US college over turning pro

Joel Omotto 05:16 - 04.04.2024

Kenya’s tennis ace Angella Okutoyi has given the reasons why she decided to enroll into an American university instead of tuning professional.

Kenya’s tennis ace Angella Okutoyi has disclosed that lack of finances is the reason she opted against going professional and instead chose to enroll into a US-based university.

Okutoyi was eligible to turn pro two years ago but decided to join Alabama-based Auburn University for a tennis and education scholarship, having captured the world’s attention due to her impressive performances at various events.

The 20-year-old received interest from 30 institutions before she visited Auburn, University of California Berkeley, University of Central Florida and North Carolina State University in the company of Tennis Kenya secretary general Wanjiru Mbugua after which she settled on her current school.

She admits she would have loved to turn pro immediately but she saw many bumps on the road ahead, opting for the rather long but more secure route via the university.

“I wanted to go pro directly but did not have enough funding. It is tough to play at the highest level and travel for tournaments especially pro so I only had the second option which was joining a college being a student athlete and I just felt like Auburn was the right place,” Okutoyi told the No-Ad, No Problem Podcast.

“I have improved a lot since I have been here in my tennis and as a person. My coach and my federation did some research and we have other coaches here who are from Kenya and they helped us to identify the good schools.”

At Auburn, Okutoyi is studying Business Management as she hones her tennis skills with the experience proving to be worthwhile.

She will be under the wings of the school for four years unless she gets a sponsor to shorten her journey into a pro tennis player although she is not in a hurry since she gets to enjoy some of the best facilities in the world.

“I had concerns because college is a long path and I wanted a shorter path. You have to be here four years but for now, it is not a long path because I am really doing good and I have improved a lot and results can prove that,” added the recently-crowned African champion.

“When I was back home, I did not have people to train with, I was only training with boys but coming here, I play a lot of matches and train in the best facilities and I feel it was the best decision for me.

“I will stick to college until I find the right resources and the right people to support me for my pro career.”

Okutoyi is still basking in the glory of her historic gold medal win at the African Games, a first for Kenya in the sport since 1978, and she has set up an elaborate programme that will help her make it into the top 400 in the world ranking so that she can seal her ticket to the Paris Olympics.

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