Over 80 marksmen from all the four tiers line up today as the week-long Kenya Open shooting sports championships get underway today at the Defence Forces Rifle Range Nanyuki, Laikipia County.
The marksmen will be competing for the top honour at the 79th edition of the most prestigious local shooting sports showpiece. Whether civilians or soldiers will break the police trigger pullers’ six-year dominance remains to be seens. The focus will also be on female shooters, who will be seeking to write history.
Defending champion John Serem said although he expects tough competition, he is ready for the challenge. “The weather at the range is favourable to everyone hence the competition is going to be stiff. There is no mirage which makes work lighter since even amateurs can beat the wind,” he said.
“The women are coming out strong and of course past winners and other top sharpshooters are all eyeing the trophy that I’ve had for a year and still want to keep it. It’s all boils down to how composed one is,” added the Directorate of Criminal Investigations corporal. Only three civilians, including two British men have in the last slightly under three decades been crowned the winners. Veteran and coach Satiender Sehmi won it twice, in 2005 and 2010 whereas a British (Clerk) won in 2004 and Jonathan Cload (British) slammed the 1996 silverware.
There is a galaxy of women enjoying great form in the 2017 season and are confident of producing the first ever female champion. In 2015, Nune Bonaya (DFRA) almost made history as the Kenya Open female winner when she scored 276, 15vee-bulls but was beaten to the second place on count back by Sanford Otundo who carded 276, 22vee-bulls. “With the rainy season, anything is possible. The forecast of the range will range between good and moderate but there won’t be extreme conditions. It is going to be tough but I am focused and so are other lady firers whom we’ve been having extra training with in preparation for this shoot,” said Mutongwe-based sailor Joyce Chebii.
On the third front, the DFRA team will be looking to end a eight-year brought of trophies by producing a champion. In the last 27 editions of this show, DFRA won the title 14 times, including back-to-back wins spread among four soldiers only. Francis Kimani of 7 KR won in 1990, David Kinuthia of 7 KR won twice (1991, 1993) and Peter Kokon-3KR (1992,1994 and 1995).
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