Kenya men and women’s team are out to cash on the home advantage as they launch their quest for the Africa State Bowls Championships title starting Tuesday at Nairobi Club and Karen Country Club.
The country is hosting the championships for the first time since 2011 with six countries taking part including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Zambia and Botswana.
The men’s competition is taking place at Karen Country Club with the women battling it out at Nairobi Club.
Each team has five men and as many women apart from Namibia that brought men’s team only.
The competition across the genders are in four categories; singles, pairs, trips and fours where South Africa will be defending both the men and women’s trips and pairs titles. The last edition of the biennial event was staged in South Africa.
And Cabinet Secretary for Sports Amina Mohammed was at hand to officially open this year’s championships at Nairobi Club where she rallied Team Kenya to put their best foot and throws forward.
“I wish to warmly welcome all the visiting players and their supporters to the country,” Mohammed said. “It’s my hope you will enjoy the tournament but it’s important to remember that our country has a lot to offer beyond sports.”
Esther Walker, who was voted the most valuable player during the 2017 Africa State Bowls Championships, makes the Kenya women’s team that also has Christine Mbae, Frida Mwangi, Celestine Masila and Susan Wambugu.
Walker and Wambugu were in the Team Kenya for the Atlantic Championships that was held in Cardiff, Wales in May this year where Kenya put up a sterling show to qualify for the World Bowls Championships slated for May next year in Australia.
Benson Kariuki and Joseph Kitosi, who also qualified for the world event, are among the players flying Kenya’s flag in the men’s event. Others are Joseph Njagi, Cephas Kimwaki and James Ngugi.
“We have been practising since the team was selected in April this year. These are worthy players and for sure they will deliver medals,” said Walker.
Kenya finished third in women’s trips and pairs during the 2017 event while the men settled for fifth. Walker noted that South Africa have always been their biggest opposition. “They are equally wary of us since we have beaten them before in the women’s events."
The championship gets underway at 8.15am with men and women’s singles and fours which will be played daily until Wednesday afternoon when the pairs and trips start.