International firer Christopher Saina is the 2018 Kenya Open Bisley Shooting champion.
Saina, the General Service Unit (GSU) officer, reclaimed the prestigious title for his fourth Cup success when he downed 287 points comprising 22 vee-bulls (287.22) in the final shootout at the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) Shooting Range Laikipia on Saturday.
Fresh from representing Kenya at Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Saina, edged out 24 other shooters, who made it through to the final stage featuring 800m and 900m.
Saina, the 43-year-old Senior Sergeant, needed four points to silence the charging Nathan Mringie to second place on 283.24, followed by Anthony Dodds from Kenya Regiment Rifle Club on 282.28.
GSU’s David Kirui settled fourth on 281.21, with Elphas Ng’etich of Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) closing the top fifth vanguard with 280.20.
Saina embraced a suave round at 800m, downing 73 points as Mringie, a Chief Inspector at Anti-Theft Stock Unit (ASTU) struggled to score 68 points.
However, Mringie greatly improved at 900m to score 69, but Saina, who brought 68 points, seemed to have done enough at 800 to triumph.
The competition was so stiff that GSU’s Sanford Otundo had to relinquish his title, finishing seventh with 276.23, with Belinda Akoth also from GSU finishing as the top lady in 23rd place with 256.15.
“The competition was stiff this time around with every firer having improved greatly,” said Saina, who attributed the good scores from the firers to the sessions they had with the visiting British coach Bill Richards.
“You feel a credible and real champion when you win under such conditions.”
Initially, Saina noted that they never used to share or compare notes or ideas but things are different now.
“That sharing culture introduced by Richards has lifted up those who were lagging behind,” said Saina.
Mringie mourned his last shot at 800m.
“I messed up with the final bullet at 800m to score 68 and not even a good round at 900 could salvage the situation,” said Mringie, who nevertheless, returned his best ever show at Kenya Open.
Saina, the 2011, 2012 and 2014 champion, tied in fifth place with compatriot Nathan Mringie on 146. 16 each heading into the finals shootout with veteran Satiender Sehmi, the 2005 and 2010 champion leading on 146.19.
Kenya Open Bisley Final standing
1. Christopher Saina (GSU) 287.22
2. Nathan Mringie (ASTU) 283.24
3. Anthony Dodds (KRRC) 282.28
4. David Kirui (GSU) 281.21
5. Elphas Ng’etich (DCI) 280.20
6. Moses Wachira (KDF) 277.18
7. Sanford Otundo (GSU) 276.23
8. Fredrick Mwema (GSU) 276.21
9. Simon Ndambuki (Rift Valley) 275.16
10. Clifford Kiptarus (GSU) 274.17