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Kenyan duo bags gold in continental Woodball competition

Friday November 8 2019

Kenya's Peter Waweru make a swing in his last stroke during the African Woodball championships at the United States International University on November 8, 2019. PHOTO | LOKEDER NATIOM |

Kenya's Peter Waweru make a swing in his last stroke during the African Woodball championships at the United States International University on November 8, 2019. PHOTO | LOKEDER NATIOM |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

LOKEDER NATIOM
By LOKEDER NATIOM
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The first African Woodball Championships came to a close on Friday with Kenya’s Peter Waweru and David Wairimu winning gold medal in the men’s doubles with a combined 51 strokes at the United States International University.

Uganda came in second through William Osie and Joel Adupe having 57 strokes. Cirus Makutha and Nelson Kipkunei from Uganda finished third.

The outdoor sport popular in Asian countries like Malaysia and Taiwan was introduced in the country in 2009 at Kenyatta University.

The sport is played using a wooden stick with a bottle-shaped end used to hit the wooden ball in patterns created all over the field known as gates. At the end of every gate there is a scoring post made with two bottled-shaped pins and one wine glass-shaped pin.

The players are categorised into singles (one player per team), doubles (two players per team) and mixed doubles (a man and a woman in the one team). It also has the men and women teams separately.

For one to win, he has to use a maximum of 12 or less strokes before getting the wooden ball to the gate. If you use more than 12 strokes or hit the wooden ball using the stick (mallet) out of the gated pattern you lose. There are 24 gates all over the field.

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WOMEN'S DOUBLES

Kenya has mostly university students participating since the Ministry of Sports has not yet recognised the game hence they cannot support a national team.

The sport has slowly grown over the years in Africa with countries like Sudan and Tanzania joining in the championships and even participating back in 2017.

In the women’s doubles, Kenya’s Gloria Kongu and Veronicah Munuve took silver with a combined 62 strokes while their counterparts Debra Jepleting and Doreen Bireugo came in third to win bronze with 65 strokes.

Gold was taken by Uganda’s Sophia Namudu and Prossy Nankya who had 60 strokes taking the lead.

In the mixed doubles round, Kenya dominated the field with Daniel Wambua and Mercy Chebet taking gold with 55 strokes.

The pair was closely followed by Uganda’s Emmanuel Opiyo and Florence Mukoya having 57 strokes.

Uganda’s Thomas Kadi and Donie Niyeru came in third taking bronze with 63 strokes.

The end of the African wood ball championships paves way for the start of Kenya Woodball Open that will also end on Sunday.

The Secretary General Kenya Woodball Federation Samuel Litaba said the sport has made a lot of progress since its introduction.

"I’m happy with how far we have come even participating in the second Beach Woodball World Cup held in Mombasa," said Litaba.

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