The first-ever Visit Rwanda Golf Challenge unfolded in Kigali, drawing players from various corners of Africa and beyond to what is anticipated to become a recurring event.
Organized by the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the golf challenge formed part of the Global Citizen’s Move Afrika Week 2023 in Kigali, strategically aligning with the country’s Visit Rwanda program aimed at promoting sports tourism.
Andrew Kulayige, Kigali Golf Club Captain, expressed the initial difficulty in securing sponsors but highlighted that investments in the golf course have elevated it to one of the region’s premier golfing destinations.
The tournament witnessed enthusiastic participation from 204 players representing diverse nations such as DRC, Kenya, Ghana, Germany, Switzerland, France, Ethiopia, Sweden, and others, including the host country Rwanda.
Kulayige emphasized the growing influence of golf in Rwanda, asserting, “Golf is now a lifestyle in Rwanda. You are either with us or not with us.”
Acknowledging the increased female participation compared to previous years, Kulayige underscored the importance of more women engaging in the sport and encouraged sponsors to advocate for greater female involvement in golf.
Marcel Byusa, President of Kigali Golf Club, commended sponsors for their contributions to the development of golf in Rwanda while urging them to intensify efforts in encouraging female participation.
Francis Gatare, CEO of RDB, took part in the golfing event for the first time, expressing delight and signing up to be a part of the vibrant golfing community, praising the success of the inaugural Visit Rwanda Golf Challenge.
Gatare thanked sponsors for their support in promoting sports tourism in Rwanda and outlined RDB’s commitment to advancing golf as a tourist attraction, intending to make the Visit Rwanda Golf Challenge a regular and multifaceted showcase of talent and products.
The event concluded with winners receiving trophies, vouchers for weekend stays at Rwanda’s five-star hotels and resorts, including prestigious names like Radisson, Cleo Lake Kivu, Marina Bay, Mantis, and Serena Hotels.
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The Gross Winners, inclusive of the overall champions, were also rewarded with business class air tickets to Dubai.
Diverse awards were presented across various categories, recognizing outstanding performance in golf among both local and international participants.
Among the highlights were Lynda Mugeni’s multiple victories in the ladies’ category, and James Karenzi was celebrated as the ‘Piga Mingi’ for his spirited participation.