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Kenya’s Olympic dream in shooting hangs in the balance

Lack of funds threatens to derail Kenya’s shooting team from participating in the Africa Shooting Championships

Kenya’s shooting team is facing a major setback in their quest to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, as they risk missing the Africa Shooting Championships that start on Sunday in Cairo, Egypt. The team of 12 shooters and three officials has been training for the last one year, but their hopes of securing the 16 quota places allocated for Africa by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are in jeopardy due to lack of funds.

The Kenya Sports Shooting Federation (KSSF) chairman Shoiab Vayani said that they submitted their budget of Sh15 million to the Ministry of Sports in June last year, but they have not received any response from the government. He said that they were assured of funding when they met with Cabinet Secretary for Sports Ababu Namwamba and his predecessor Amina Mohamed, but nothing has materialized so far.

“We are in a dilemma now with only a few days to the championships,” said Vayani, adding that they have reduced their budget drastically but still no funds have been released. “Time is running out and there will be repercussions if we are to withdraw at the last minute,” he warned.

Kenya’s Olympic dream in shooting hangs in the balance

Director of Sports says the matter is being handled

However, Director of Sports Gerald Gitonga said in a telephone interview that the issue was still being handled and that KSSF should be patient. “We are handling the matter and these are things we can’t discuss on phone,” said Gitonga. He dismissed the reports that the ministry does not have funds as untrue.

The Africa Shooting Championships will feature men and women’s Air Rifle, Rifle Three Position, Air Pistol, Skeet and Trap. Also on the card are men’s Rapid Fire Pistol and women’s 25m Pistol. The championships will run until October 10 and will serve as the continental qualifiers for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Priscilla Wangui could be Kenya’s only representative in Cairo

If KSSF fails to secure funds from the government, Kenya’s only representative in Cairo could be Priscilla Wangui, who is on Olympic Solidarity scholarship. Wangui is one of Kenya’s most promising shooters and has been training in Italy under renowned coach Niccolo Campriani. She is aiming to qualify for the women’s 10m Air Rifle event at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Wangui said that she was optimistic of qualifying for the Olympics and that she was ready to compete in Cairo. “I have been training hard and I believe I have what it takes to qualify for Paris 2024. I am looking forward to competing in Cairo and representing my country,” she said.

Wangui added that she was saddened by the situation facing her fellow shooters and hoped that they would get a chance to join her in Cairo. “It is unfortunate that they are facing such challenges. They have been working hard and they deserve to compete. I hope they will get some support and make it to Cairo,” she said.

Kenya has never qualified a shooter for the Olympic Games

Kenya has never qualified a shooter for the Olympic Games, despite having a rich history in the sport. The country has produced several champions at the regional and continental level, such as David Kirui, Maurice Morara, Sanford Otundo and Gulraaj Sehmi. However, none of them has managed to secure an Olympic berth due to various factors, such as lack of exposure, inadequate facilities and equipment, and insufficient funding.

Vayani said that Kenya has a lot of potential in shooting and that it was unfortunate that the sport has not received enough recognition and support from the government and other stakeholders. He said that KSSF has been trying to promote and develop the sport at all levels, but they face many challenges that hinder their progress.

“We have a lot of talent in shooting, but we need more support to nurture it and expose it to international competitions. Shooting is an expensive sport and we cannot rely on our own resources alone. We need the government and other partners to come on board and help us achieve our goals,” he said.

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