Balala unveils Kenya’s team for Magical Open
The Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife has today unveiled the 2019 Magical Kenya Open Golf Championship Kenyan professional and elite amateur golf players.
This year’s Kenya Open Golf Championship will have a field of 156 players made up of professionals and amateurs drawn from across the world.
Kenya will be represented by 18 golf players at this year’s tournament; 12 professional golfers and 6 elite amateur golfers.
The pros unveiled at a colourful ceremony at the Nairobi National Park were Greg Snow of Muthaiga Golf Club, Dismas Indiza of Mumias Sugar Golf Club, David Opati of Windsor Golf and Country Club, Rizwan Charania of Windsor Golf and Country Club, David Wakhu and Tony Omuli of Golf Park Golf Club, C.J. Wangai of Sigona Golf Club, Nelson Simwa of Vet Lab Sports Club, Simon Ngige of Thika Golf Club, Erick Ooko of Royal Nairobi Golf Club, Justus Madoya of Great Rift Valley Golf Resort and Philip Kasozi of Uganda Golf Club.
The elite amateur golfers who were unveiled were Daniel Nduva of Nyali Golf and Country Club, Samuel Njoroge of Railway Golf Club, Mutahi Kibugu of Muthaiga Golf Club, Edwin Mudanyi of Vet Lab Sports Club, Mike Kisia also of Vet Lab Sports Club and Bradley Mogire of Emirates Golf Club.
Speaking during the unveiling ceremony, the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife, Hon. Najib Balala said:
“As a Ministry, we are proud to unveil the Kenyan Pros and elite amateurs that will represent Kenya at the 2019 Magical Kenya Open Golf Championship which is set to provide exposure to Kenya as a preferred golf tourism destination both on the local and international scene.”
The Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary hailed the prominent role that sports has played in raising Kenya’s global profile as a destination, citing the exploits of individuals such as Eliud Kipchoge who broke the world marathon record at the 2018 Berlin Marathon as a major boost to Kenya’s recognition on the world map.
CS Balala said: “We are committed to leveraging on sports in order to create a stronger brand association between our sports personalities and Kenya as a destination. This is why we are intent on supporting our champions in the fields of athletics, rugby and golf to market Kenya as the preferred sports destination.”
The CS further said that through the Government of Kenya’s KSh. 250 million sponsorship support, the 2019 Magical Kenya Open Golf Championship will prominently position Kenya as a destination to a global audience through live TV broadcasting opportunities that will be availed through the tournament’s new status as a European Tour tournament.
“The Magical Kenya brand will receive wide visibility through live coverage by the European Tour (ET) Production Team that will be transmitted to over 490 million homesin more than 150 countries, generating in excess of 2200 global broadcast hours for each event. The live feed will be available to 40 broadcasters around the worldincluding Sky Sports in the UK and The Golf Channel in the U.S. DSTV’s SuperSport are the official broadcasters in Africa.”
The Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary added:“Additionally, Kenya’s golf tourism offering will be on show to golfers and golf fans across the world through the European Tour TV (ETTV), a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week online golf channel that is available in every territory across the entire planet – reaching fans beyond the regular broadcast footprint. This level of exposure is critical to Kenya’s tourism success especially viewed in light of the fact that the global golf travel market is between 6 and 9.1 million travelers. The U.S. – Kenya’s number one tourist source market – has the highest number of golf travelers at between 3.7 and 5.6 million travelers.”
Also speaking at the event, Kenya Open Golf Limited Chairman, Mr. Peter Kanyago said:
“We are grateful to the Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, and by extension the Kenya Tourism Board, for this support. It is our conviction that through this year’s tournament’s outreach through the vast live television broadcast, Magical Kenya will be positively profiled across the world. By extension, Kenya’s tourism offering will be amplified through the engagement,” he said.
Besides Kenya, there will be close to 30 other countries that will be represented at the 2019 Magical Kenya Open Golf Championship scheduled to take place at Karen Country Club from 13th to 17th March, 2019. The countries to be represented range from Australia to the United Kingdom.
Among the international star golf players expected to participate in the 2019 Magical Kenya Open Golf Championship include Haydn Porteous, immediate former Ryder Cup captain and 15-time European Tour Champion Thomas Bjorn, Ho-sung Choi and Shubhankar Sharma.
Since it begun in 1967, the Kenya Open Golf Championship has transformed into an international sporting event of note that has attracted hundreds of international golf players over the years – most of whom are from Kenya’s top tourism source markets in Europe such as the United Kingdom.