Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) shooters will for the first time in a decade participate in the United Kingdom (UK) Bisley Imperial Meeting scheduled for July 2 to 27 at Bisley, South London.
KDF’s team of six joins a squad of 25 players drawn from Kenya Police Service and Chalbi Shooting Club for the 153rd edition of the full-bore Imperial meeting.
The Imperial meeting didn’t take place in 2020 and 2021 owing to Covid-19.
Kenya Sports Shooting Federation (KSSF) president, Shoaib Vayani, expressed optimism and excitement on the return of KDF to the international scene, having been kept away due to work commitments since 2011.
Team captain Sanford Otundo from Kenya Police Service said the return of KDF will strengthen Team Kenya’s performance in team competitions.
The team leaves the country Tuesday at 9.30am for the event.
Vayani also commended KDF management for availing the Laikipia Air Base Shooting Range in Nanyuki for the team’s residential training for the last three weeks.
“We have picked a strong team that we believe will deliver the much desired results,” said Vayani, adding that they will use the championships to invite other countries for the Kenya Open Fullbore Championship due March next year.
“Already, we are in talks with several countries in Europe including Britain that are willing to grace Kenya Open next year,” said Vayani, while presenting the team with the national flag at the Nairobi Sailing and Shooting Club Monday.
Kenya managed to enter one shooter in Queen’s Final- Christopher Saina- in 2018 and Clifford Kiptarus in 2019 when the last shoot was held.
“We have trained well in the last three weeks and we hope to get more in the Queen’s Final that features the top 100 firers,” said Otundo, noting that what is exciting and encouraging is that all the teams making Team Kenya have two women each.
However, Otundo said that the competition will be challenging, noting that over 1,000 shooters will engage in stage one with only 300 making it to stage two and 100 in the Queen’s Final stage.
Kiptarus, who had a perfect shot in 2019 to reach the Queen’s final, hopes for a better performance having polished on his laying and trigger pulling.
“I wasn’t also good in wind and mirage reading, but I have worked on them,” said Kiptarus, who thanked the Inspector General of Police, Hillary Mutyambai for giving them enough time to train.
“You get to learn more with every event and that is why his tour is important.”
Kenya Police Service’s Grace Rantiile hopes to reach the Queen’s final on her third appearance after 2018 and 2019.
“I have worked on my long performance and I expect good results at 800, 900 and 1000m,” said Rantile.
Kenya Police Service’s John Ihugo, who has over 30 years of experience in shooting, is eying a good show on his 10th appearance at UK Bisley.
“I have improved greatly and hope to finally make it to the last 100,” said Ihugo, 59.
Christopher Saina , Clifford Kiptarus, Sandorf Otundo, Grace Rantile, Philip Kipchumba, Cornelius Koros, John Ihugo, David Kirui, Irene Wanjiku, Loyfird Mutegi, Elphas Ngétich, Reuben Macharia (Kenya Police Service).Wilberforce Kerema, Paul Munene, Brenmda Ajimabo, Joyce Chebii, Nicholas Longorien, Michael Gitonga (KDF).
Peter Mathenge, Moses Wachira, George Lenaola, Fred Bosire,Alex Onyapidi, Paul Chochoi, Pauline Akinyi, Sarah Masaine (Chalbi).