Source: World Rugby. Kenya have become the ninth men’s team to confirm their participation at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games after winning the Rugby Africa Men’s Sevens 2023 in Harare.
The Shujaa punched their ticket to next year’s Olympics with a 17-12 win against South Africa in the final of Rugby Africa Sevens 2023 in Harare, Zimbabwe..
The Shujaa overcame pre-tournament favourites South Africa in a tense final and they will now join France, New Zealand, Argentina, Fiji, Australia, Uruguay, Ireland and USA in the Paris line-up.
The final three places will be decided via the Oceania where Samoa hopes to qualify, as well as the Asia qualification and Olympic repechage tournament.
Keny faced the crushing disappointment of missing out on the this year’s World Series under its new format – HSBC SVNS – after a last-gasp, relegation play-off defeat to Canada in London in May this year.
This weekend, however, the Kenya squad was all smiles in Harare to have qualified as one of just 12 teams to go to the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Coach Kevin Wambua said he was always confident they could make it to a third Olympic Games after participating in Rio and Tokyo.
The Shujaa made short work of their day one opponents, Zambia, Namibia, and Nigeria, to top Pool B and reach the quarter-finals.
Kenya were equally clinical in despatching Burkina Faso (26-0) and then hosts Zimbabwe (35-10) to book their place in the final.
South Africa’s march through the pool phase had been equally impressive. Sandile Ngcobo’s team scored 120 points and only conceded 14 in a strong day one display, which yielded wins over Ivory Coast, Tunisia and Madagascar.
The Blitzboks easily accounted for Nigeria in the quarter-finals (27-0) but they were made to work by Uganda for their place in the final before sealing a 26-14 win.
In the final, the Shujaa took an early lead through Patrick Odongo but trailed 12-7 at the break after conceding tries from Selvyn Davids and Christie Grobbelaar.
Odongo scored again in the second half to level the scores at 12-12 before John Okoth scored the try that sent Kenya to the Olympics.
For South Africa and Uganda, who finished second and third, the dream of competing at the Olympics is not over as both have qualified for the Olympic repechage tournament which will be joined by the second and third placed Oceania 7s tournament.