Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has attributed the country’s growing profile as a top sporting nation to strong partnerships between the government and actors in the private sector.
Kenyatta, who presided over the closing ceremony of this year’s Magical Kenya Open Golf tournament in Nairobi County on Sunday evening, called for more partnerships across all sporting disciplines.
“It is my hope that this collaboration will continue to enable the growth of golf throughout the country, from the junior and amateur ranks to the professional ranks,” he said in a statement.
He said Kenya is proud to have successfully hosted the high-profile sporting event despite its cancellation last year due to COVID-19.
“I also thank the corporate world for joining hands with my administration, which has made this event possible. Indeed, it is this spirit of partnership with the private sector that has made us, as a country, make good progress in the fight against COVID-19,” said Kenyatta.
He vouched for the decentralization of golf to the grassroots, saying that junior and amateur golfers’ involvement will help the sport grow much faster.
The tournament attracted 156 participants from 30 countries and regions, among them 13 Kenyans.
Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife, said that by successfully hosting the Magical Kenya Open and the forthcoming Savannah Classic, the country had started earning the benefits of its investments in sports tourism over the last three years.
Balala said it is because of Kenya’s strong golfing profile that this year’s Magical Kenya Open attracted participants worldwide.
Amina Mohamed, sports cabinet secretary, said 2021 is a major sporting year for Kenya and listed the Safari Rally hosted in the country in June and the Tokyo Olympics as some of the key events to look forward to.
South African Justin Harding won the 2021 Magical Kenyan Open while American Kurt Kitayama and Scotland’s Connor Syme placed second and third respectively