By Chris Wamalwa
USA: Preparations for the biggest Kenyan annual event held in the US, the USA Sevens international rugby tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada are progressing well, organisers have said.
Speaking to the Standard on Friday, the Kenyan envoy to US, Elkanah Odembo said it is all systems go as Kenyans from around the world get ready to swamp ‘Sin City’ (Las Vegas) to once again cheer their Rugby team, Kenya’s Safari Sevens.
“From the briefings I’m getting from different organisers and groups, everything seem to be moving on well and we expect a record breaking number of Kenyans not just from the US but also Canada and around the world. This is arguably one of the biggest annual events in the Diaspora”. He said.
Most Kenyan US based small-scale businesses and entertainment groups are competing for a chance to engage with one of the largest Kenyan crowds expected to mill around Las Vegas sampling Kenyan wares, souvenirs and enjoying the popular nyama choma and other Kenyan foods.
Mr Odembo said the embassy is using the Las Vegas event to launch countrywide Jubilee celebrations to mark 50 years of self-rule.
“Kenyans living here are telling me that even though they may have missed out on voting, they still love their motherland and want therefore to celebrate her 50th anniversary. Las Vegas, known for its party nature is therefore an appropriate venue to kick- start Kenya’s Diaspora grand party”. He said.
The 2013 USA Sevens is scheduled to take place this February 8 -10, 2013 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is the fifth of nine stops on the 2012-13 HSBC Sevens World Series.
The three-day tournament is the only North American stop for the Sevens World Series, and is the largest rugby tournament in North America. As one of the premier sevens rugby tournaments in world, fans are able to view 16 national teams compete in 45 matches during the three-day competition in an attempt to gain points in the Sevens World Series standings.
Even though the Kenyan rugby team has not won any of the championships, this has dampened the spirits of its hard-line fans in the US who have continually flocked to Las Vegas to rousingly cheer the team.
“This is not about winning. It’s about representing and flying the Kenyan flag high in this Obama country. It’s also about meeting other Kenyans and making friends. Who knows, I may just meet my future wife in Sin City!” Joked Julius Mwangi of Ridley Park, PA who was frantically trying to book a hotel in Las Vegas.
Over the years, the Las Vegas Sevens have become synonymous with Kenyans and the Kenyan flag. ‘The Kenyans’ as they are commonly referred to here take to the field in their thousands and practically drown out everybody else with their loud cheers during the games.