President Uhuru Kenyatta has commended the golfing fraternity in the country for developing golf and ensuring Kenyans from all walks of life embrace the game.
The President said unlike in the past when golf was a preserve of the elite in the society, the game has developed to become an all-inclusive sport enjoyed by Kenyans of all ages, colour and station.
“Golf has had a very long history from its beginning as a sport for the social elites. Today, it is a game that truly demonstrates the face of Kenya with players and fans from all walks of life,” President Kenyatta said.
Speaking on Sunday at Muthaiga Golf Club course in Nairobi County when he presided over the closing ceremony of the 53rd edition of the Magical Kenya Open golf tournament, the Head of State assured that the Government will continue supporting the game.
He said in appreciation of the sterling position golf has assumed in Kenya, the Government has been setting aside close to USD 2.5 million every year for the last five years towards organizing world-class events such as the Magical Kenya Open golf tournament.
To deepen inclusivity and broaden the appeal of golf, President Kenyatta said the Government recently supported the Magical Kenya Ladies Open – an event that attracted many participants both locally and internationally.
“Additionally, this Safari tour, popularly known as the ‘road to the Kenyan Open’, together with the ongoing Junior Golf programmes are also playing a significant role in ensuring we produce competent golfers able to compete at regional and global levels,” the President said.
The President thanked partners from the private sector who contributed to the success of the Magical Kenya Open golf tournament, saying their gesture shows what the partnership between the private and public sectors can do to boost sports and other spheres of the country’s development.
He also commended the Junior Golf Foundation for their legacy plan which aims to nurture 6000 young and budding golfers countrywide by the end of 2023.
“We are also encouraged to learn that the Junior Golfers Foundation is collaborating with the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation which is supporting our local scene by training our golf coaches and preparing our junior golfers for international tournaments,” the President said.
The 2022 Magical Kenyan Open golf tournament was won by Ashun Wu from China while 18-year old Kenyan Njoroge Kibugu emerged the winner on the amateur category.
In recognition of Kibugu’s sterling performance in the tournament, President Kenyatta announced that the young golfer will be sponsored by the Government to participate in the Soudal Open golf tournament that will be held in Belgium between 12th and 15th May this year.
“…we will also support his transition to professional golf. That will include supporting him with his trainers and making sure that we pay for his trainers and also by providing him with a fitted golf kit so that he can now truly join the ranks of the best in the world,” President Kenyatta said.
Speaking at the event, Sports Cabinet Secretary Amb. Amina Mohamed announced that her ministry has come up with a curriculum that will be presented to the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) to ensure golf becomes one of the programmes that will run in schools under the name “Golf Mashinani”.
The event was also attended by Cabinet Secretaries Najib Balala (Tourism) and Eugene Wamalwa (Defence) as well as ODM leader Raila Odinga and Nairobi Governor Ann Kananu.