Technical University of Kenya student Sasha Mongeli has been named as the Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK) Sports Personality of the Month for October.
Mongeli beat Equity Hawks player Belinda Okoth, tennis sensation Angela Okuyoti and Abraham Kiptum for the accolade.
The 21-year-old attained the higher Women Fide Master (WFM) title during the World Chess Olympiad held in Batumi, Georgia between September 28- October 6. It was her debut at the biennial event and she achieved the feat with two rounds to score.
Her score of eight wins out of nine games was one of the best in the Olympiads and the highest percentage score by a Kenyan in the Olympiad’s history. She had previously gained a Women Candidate Master (WCM) title during the 15-day event before upgrading to the WFM.
Compatriot Lucy Wanjiru also attained a WCM title after stunning her higher rated opponent in a well-played rook ending as the Kenyan side returned with two individual times.
Her exploits saw her win a 42-inch digital television courtesy of StarTimes as well as Sh100,000 and a trophy. And the accolades left the third-year Actuarial Science major quite surprised.
“I honestly never though that something like this would happen to me. Chess is not a very popular sport like football, rugby or event athletics, but you have shown that indeed we matter,” she said.
“This award will inspire more chess players to continue working hard because now it is evident that our efforts are not going unnoticed,” she added. Mongeli will now turn her attention to next weekend’s season ending Kenya National Chess Championship.