About 18 countries are expected in Kenya for the African championship and 2016 Rio Olympic Canoe qualifiers games that will be held in November at Rapids camp, Sagana in Murang’a County.
Speaking in Sagana during a strategic meeting at Rapids camp, Seth Patwa who is the secretary general of confederation of Africa canoe said all was on course for the event that will be held late this year.
The qualifying games which will be held between November 7 and 14 this year will give the country to earn revenue from tourism sector as the organizers expect many people to attend the event.
Seth said the purpose of the meeting that included representatives from Central government, Murang’a and Kirinyaga counties was to establish the technical requirements for the event and planning of logistics.
He said this was a very big opportunity for the country as it was the first time the country is hosting the Olympic qualifications and second time to host the Africa qualifiers after hosting the games back in 2008 after the post election violence.
Patwa said they have also invited the International canoeing federation vice president who is also a member of the International Olympic committee to grace the event.
Patwa, who is also the Secretary general of Kenya canoe and rowing association said the one week event requires 20M to be a success thus invited sponsors to chip in saying this was an opportunity to market the country as destination for water sport.
According to William Kinuthia, the Rapids camp manager said that this is the only international event that is being hosted this year despite the tarnished image of the country in terms of security.
He said being chosen by the International canoeing federation to host the event was a sign that Kenya is safe enough for great investment activities despite all that noting that this is one event that cannot be ignored by the county and national government as it is an opportunity to sell Kenya abroad.
He noted that in 2008 Africa qualifiers, the event was given a wide berth by some foreign countries after the post election violence which tainted the country as insecure thus pulling out due to insecurity fears.
He said they have come a very long way as facilitators’ noting that canoeing was a new sport in the country but the reception was overwhelming.
They noted that next month from 12-14 Kenya will be holding her qualification matches and invited all teams to come for the trials adding that the selected team will represent Kenya at the slalom championship slated for London in July.