FIBA Africa Zone Five Most Valuable Player (MVP) Victoria Reynolds is the LG/SJAK Sports Personality of the Month for the month of July.
This follows her incredible performance at the Zone Five Afrobasket qualifiers held on 12 to 17 July 2021 where she helped the national women’s basketball team, Kenya Lionesses, clinch the zonal title and consequently qualify for the Women’s Afrobasket to be held on 17 to 26 September 2021.
Making her debut for Kenya Lionesses and playing in the zonal competition for the first time, Reynolds, a Master’s Degree scholar in the United States helped Lionesses shake off a poor start in the preliminary stages of the championship to stun pre-tournament favorites Egypt 99-83 in the final.
Lionesses faced Rwanda in their opening match, going down 77-45, Reynolds stayed 12.51 minutes on the floor to score five points, in the only match she failed to hit double digits in points.
The Kenyan women bounced back to pick their first win against debutants South Sudan in a 66-48 scoreline, with Reynolds managing a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and 36 minutes of play.
Up against Egypt in the final group-stage match, the 24-year old scored 25 points, five rebounds, and four steals, in 37 minutes of playtime, as Lionesses gave up a 25-point lead at halftime to lose 107-106 to the North Africans.
In the semifinal where Lionesses played against Rwanda, the George Mayienga-coached side went hard for a 79-52 victory as Reynolds scored 16 points, rebounded six times, and had three steals.
Coming up against defending champions Egypt in the final, the Lionesses were baying for blood and their resilience against hard-fighting Pharaohs paid off as they picked the title and booked their ticket to a second straight FIBA Women’s AfroBasket and seventh overall.
Reynolds was again in her element scoring 25 points, making six assists, five rebounds, and four steals to walk away with both the MVP and best Small Forward awards at the regional competition.
Her teammate FelmasKoranga was awarded as the best Power Forward for her relentless displays on both ends of the court throughout the tournament amassing an outstanding double-double with 24 points, 13 rebounds, three steals, and one block in the final.
Reynolds beat two-time Olympics gold medalist Faith Kipyegon who in July reigned supreme at the Monaco Diamond League meeting with a 3:51.07 world lead and Kenyan national record, the fastest 1500m time since 2015, to the award. She also moved to fourth on the all-time world lists.
Other nominees included Africa Rally Championship (ARC) leader Carl Tundo who won five out ten stages of the Tanzania Rally as well as sprint sensation Ferdinand Omanyala for equalizing his national record as well as qualifying for the Olympics semis in 100m.
Reynolds joins the growing list of winners that includes tennis superstar Angela Okutoyi (January), basketballer Tylor OkariOngwae of Kenya Moran’s (February) boxer EllyAjowi (March), reigning world marathon champion Ruth Chepng’etich (April), Milan marathon winner Titus Ekiru (May) and World Rally Championship (WRC) Safari Rally WRC3 winner Onkar Rai (June).
LG Electronics Home Appliances Product Marketer, Ms. Tabitha Wairimu hailed Reynolds for her contribution to the success of the Kenya Lionesses, describing her as a promising basketball star to watch.
He thanked SJAK and the media for their role in highlighting the achievements of Kenyan sportsmen and women.
On his part, SJAK President Chris Mbaisi thanked LG Electronics for their unwavering support saying the partnership continues to make a huge difference in the promotion of sporting activities across the country.
Among the products Reynolds will receive as awards include LG refrigerator with a timeless style that meets the latest innovations and technology retailing at Kshs 72,495.
“With the Award running on a monthly basis, sportsmen and women can look forward to greater heights in sport- so thrills and spills are guaranteed in the season as we move forward. This award rewards excellence and the panel of selectors is always watching our sports personalities in every competition as they look to reward their excellence.”