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How a Kenyan bracelet stole the heart of an American Olympian

When beach volleyball players Brackides Agala and Gaudencia Makokha gave a Kenyan bracelet to Olympian Sarah Sponcil from the United States of America at the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, little did they know the gesture would pay off.

Makokha and Agala, who were making their debut at the Games played against the American pair of Sponcil and Kelly Claes, but lost 2-0.

But after the match, the Kenyans gave Sponcil, 26, the bracelet as a souvenir.

American beach volleyball olympian Sarah sponcil at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on May 7, 2023. PHOTO| Sila Kiplagat

Fast forward. When US-based Christian charitable organisation World Concern announced a long-term partnership with Sponcil for humanitarian work to help fight poverty worldwide, she chose Kenya as her first stop. “I thought to myself, this is sportsmanship.

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Remember we had defeated them and who would think they would want to give us something after we beat them.

The gesture was something,” said Sponcil on arrival at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport yesterday afternoon.

“When I was appointed World Concern’s ambassador, I thought of Agala and Makokha’s kindness. I’m happy to be here in Kenya. I want to know the players a little bit more off the court. Together, we want to create awareness and run beach volleyball clinics in schools in Nairobi and Narok counties.


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A post shared by Sarah Sponcil (@smsponcil)

“I am so grateful to be partnering with World Concern on this incredible journey.” Sponcil, who is in the country for a week-long tour, was received by Agala, Makokha, youngster Veronica Adhiambo and Malkia Strikers’ coach Paul Bitok.

“Her presence here means alot,” said Makokha. “This is a great partnership and we hope that we will build a strong bond that will reflect the growth of the sport in the country,” said Agala.

“This is a sign of good things to come. We can only learn from Sponcil,” said Bitok.

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