Like Kenya Open, ensure other sporting disciplines succeed
Success, as they say, has many fathers, but failure is an orphan. And what other apt example than the resounding success of the first ever European Tour golf tournament on Kenyan soil – the Magical Kenya Open at Karen Country Club last week.
The organisation was near perfect as some of the game's finest players from around the world descended on Nairobi to fight for Sh120 million prize. After four days of nerve-wracking action, the winner – Italy's Guido Migliozzi – carted away a Sh20.5 million bounty.
The media glitz ensured the country and another 420 million people around the world were gripped by golf fever despite the long-standing accusation that it is a rich man's game.
It turns out some of Kenya's representatives who kept countrymen on the edge of their seats are actually from humble beginnings, such as Simon Ngige, Dismas Indiza, Justus Madoya, David Wakhu and Alfred Nandwa among others.
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The overwhelming success of the inaugural European Tour tournament saw a charmed President Uhuru Kenyatta declare that he had fulfilled his promise to elevate Kenya Open to a global contest. He was right. The President, also, pointed out that the Government is committed to not only develop the game of golf, but also market the country as a tourist hub and challenged the private sector to chip in.
The government, in the blink of an eye, pumped Sh250 million into the championship. Barclays Bank of Kenya too splashed Sh220 million on a three-year deal.
Amid this fanfare of Kenya Open success, however, enter the orphans. The collapse of rugby and cricket right under the nose of the same government make a mockery of celebrating the Kenya Open success.
The globetrotting Kenya Sevens team, which has been an advert of the country's resilience, is on the brink of being relegated from the IRB Series. The cricket team that was on the brink of joining the multi-billion shilling Test Circuit, having reached the semi-finals of the 2003 World Cup, is on its death-bed.
Sports facilities are rotting, thanks to runaway corruption and the State's half-hearted attempts to spruce them up. If it took the President's hand to ensure Magical Kenya Open succeeds, the same hand should touch the orphans for they too are his children.
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Magical Kenya OpenKaren Country ClubGuido MigliozziEuropean Tour golf tournament