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Kenya Airways takes golf to Abuja to boost sports tourism

By Joe Ombuor | Published Sun, December 28th 2014 at 00:00, Updated December 27th 2014 at 21:07 GMT +3
Amb. Tom Amolo (left in white), Ms Rose Kiseli ( middle), West Africa area KQ manager and others display the KQ ticket to any two African destinations for tournament overall winner Kachi Ndumbuisi

The IBB (Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida) International Golf and Country Club, a grandiose facility in the hill dotted Nigeria Federal capital Abuja named after a former Head of State, recently hosted the first golf extravaganza.

The event was sponsored wholly by an airline at what is reputed as the most beautiful parkland golf course in Sub Saharan Africa and the largest in West Africa.

It was a first for Kenya Airways that in June inaugurated flights linking Nairobi and Abuja. The facility’s captain Tom Brisibe says: “This is the first tournament ever at this golf course fully owned and sponsored by an airline. Other airlines such as Nigeria’s Arik Air, Lufthansa of Germany, Dutch KLM and Alitalia have participated in organisation, but not wholly owned a tournament. Kudos, Kenya Airways!”

Captain Brisibe said the tournament was an opportunity for IBB golfers who comprise Nigeria’s Who is Who to visit and enjoy facilities in Kenya and the larger East Africa.

The day long tournament on December 13 under halcyon climatic conditions saw 180 male and female golfers from across Nigeria show off their skills around the 18 hole course punctuated by a naturally flowing river, ponds, assemblages of palm trees, ditches, bunkers and shrubs watched by beautiful birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, even fish in what doubles up as a nature train of sorts. The 101 hectare golf course with a playing distance of 6,098 metres was a show case in Kenya Airways colours and its highly creative “Pride of Africa Logo”. The colours were conspicuous on the T-Shirts and hats donned by the players and officials including KQ personnel, on the ubiquitously innumerous banners and souvenirs. It was the second KQ Golf Safari tournament in Nigeria after Lagos the previous week.

Volume of trade

Kenya Airways Area Manager for West Africa Ms Rose Kisili, who flew in from her base in Accra, Ghana for the occasion, described the extravaganza as “Our peculiar way of giving back to our esteemed customers adding: “Kenya Airways is keen to promote golf tourism opportunities between Kenya Nigeria and other destinations in its routes.” She added: “Beyond conventional tourism that airlines help promote, we are committed to ensure that we grow the volume of trade within our two countries as well as increasing inter Africa and international trade.”

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She said there was no shorter and easier route to the international business hub of Dubai from Nigeria and West Africa in general than flying through Nairobi by Kenya Airways.Ms Kiseli said winners of the Abuja tournament will join others for the grand finale to be held next year at the Windsor Golf and Country Club in Nairobi.

Grand finale

Her sentiments were echoed by Kenya’s High Commissioner to Nigeria Ambassador Tom Amolo who said economic activities between Nigeria and Kenya were fast growing due to the obtaining close friendly ties between the two countries. He described the occasion as a monumental beginning that heralds brighter times ahead.

He expressed the hope that KQ starts a Nairobi/Lagos/Abuja route to ease movement for travelers with business interests in the three cities who currently have to endure the time consuming inconvenience of connecting flights.

Kachi Ndumbuisi emerged overall winner of the Abuja tournament.The handicap 13 Ndumbuisi made a brilliant score of 70 nett in a tightly contested competition. Besides booking himself a slot in next year’s grand finale in Nairobi, Ndumbuisi won the top prize of two return tickets to any KQ destinations in Africa.

Others who qualified for the grand finale were handicap 34 lady winner Olaniyim Olawunmi who posted 74 nett and Handicap 19 Sunil Mahbubani who shot 71 nett to clinch the men winner. S. Igwe carded 72 nett to clinch the men’s runner up position.

Kasumba emerged the guest winner with a score of 71 nett. He played off Handicap 23. Baloni was the longest drive men’s winner.

 


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