The Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Najib Balala on Wednesday launched the Ksh 250 million sponsorship for the 2019 Magical Kenya Open Golf Championship at the Nairobi National Park.
The choice of the venue – The Nairobi National Park – was symbolic as the government aims to boost Kenya’s image as a top tourist destination and plans to harness its potential through the forth coming sports event.
Speaking at the ceremony, Balala said that the driving force behind the sponsorship is to attract big names in the game and to showcase Kenya as a “safe and peaceful destination” for sports tourism.
“The purpose of the European Tour is to profile the destination and attract the big names in the game of golf and finally it’s happening now. Through our sports fund, we have committed Kshs. 250 million and the prize money for this event is Kshs. 130 million,” said Balala.
“It is one of the top premiere events in the world and we intend to showcase the country as a safe, peaceful destination for sports tourism.”
Sports Permanent Secretary Kirimi Kaberia who also graced the event wished the Kenyan team luck saying the ministry’s aim is to open the game to the public and not just a fraction of selected people.
“We are going on with the expansion of the game of golf for instance in high schools. A good example is the golf course at Lenana School and the public golf course at Kasarani.”
Speaking to Citizen Digital at the event, Mumias Golf Club’s Dismas Indiza who will be part of Kenya’s team at the Kenya Open said that the Safari Tour came in handy for the Kenyan team in preparing for the tournament set to tee off from March 14-17 at the Karen Golf Club.
“We have prepared ourselves well. The Safari tour has been instrumental in preparing for Kenya Open at Karen. Therefore the Kenyan team is up to the task, “he enthused.
Indiza further added that they go into the tourney rejuvenated because the government has shown desire to support golf.
“The Kenyan team is going into this tournament in high spirits because of the motivation we have received. I am usually sponsored by Mumias but some of the players lack sponsors. Therefore this is a huge boost to us,” he reckoned.
Officials from the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, the Ministry of Sports, Culture and Heritage, the Kenya Tourism Board, the Sports Fund, Kenya Open Golf Limited as well as professional and amateur golfers who will play at the 2019 Magical Kenya Open were also in attendance.