By AYUMBA AYODI
Women shooting witnessed a new dawn on Sunday when Major General Fatuma Ahmed launched women-only shooting championship for the first time at Sailing Club Shooting Range.
The colourful ceremony also saw the formation of Kenya Women Shooting Team with Kenya Defence Force’s Nune Bonaya being appointed its first chairperson. She is deputised by Mary Sintei from Presidential Escort Unit.
Both men and women competed against each other in smallbore and fullbore national championships but the inaugural International Practical Shooting Confederation Championship marked an end to that.
The Kenya Sports Shooting Federation (KSSF) will now hold separate men and women’s competitions.
Ahmed, who is the first female Major General in the country, declared it a new beginning for women shooting in the country and promised to mobilise resources to support the venture and have more women join the sport.
Jane Wanjiru from Police Headquarters shot 170.75 points to win the championship that was sponsored by Profession Mentors of Africa and Valentine Cakes.
Wanjiru edged out General Service Unit’s (GSU’s) Belina Akoth to second place with 164.34 as Kenya Regiment Rifle Club’s Monica Kahura came in third with 129.95.
Mercy Ngaira from GSU carded 129.36 for fourth as Asha Noor from Police shot 108.32 to wrap up the top five.
Ahmed said that is now clear that KSSF is progressively incorporating gender perspective into the sport and that the number of women shooters is growing.
“We are excited and it means that there is now progressive change in the way we look at shooting as a professional sport. KSSF has clearly demonstrated on where they want women shooting to go,” said Ahmed. “We have to join our girls so that we are part of this critical journey as they take the sport to the next level.”
Ahmed, who was accompanied by Commissioner of Police Lilian Okembo, advised KSSF to now come up with programs that will draw the public to the sport so as to eradicate the perception that the game is exclusively for disciplined forces.
“This will happen through necessary support by providing the much required resources to ensure that proper levels of awareness are reached.”
KSSF chairman Gran Calder said even though most of their championships will be staged at the same time, men and women’s results we be separated.
KSSF smallbore captain Gurupreet Dhanjal noted that the development is a clear indication that women shooting has grown in Kenya.
Dhanjal said that the International Olympic Committee is moving towards gender parity with equal number of men and women in their events in Practical Pistol, 22 Rifle, Air Pistol and Shotgun. “We must keep up with the changes,” said Dhanjal.
International Practical Shooting Confederation Championship results:
1. Jane Wanjiru (Police) 170.75, 2. Belina Akoth (GSU) 164.34, 3. Monica Kahura (KRRC-Civilian) 129.95, 4. Mercy Ngaira (GSU) 129.36,
5. Asha Noor (Police) 108.32, 6. Josephine Matoi (GSU) 107.09, 7. Irene Wanjiku (GSU) 106.16, 8. Mercy Awuor (GSU) 96.23, 9. Selina Lopele (Police) 83.45 and 10. Susan Ngatuk (Police) 82..03.
11. Maggy Njoroge (ASTU) 79.31, 12. Preeyam Sehmi (KRRC) 75.56, 13. Judith Mumbua (Police) 71.61, 14. Paula Munyi (KRRC) 58.51, 15. Rebecca Kerubo (Police) 50.83, 16. Maureen Wamgechi (KRRC) 39.91, 17. Maryanne Cherotich (KRRC) 36.76, 18. Dhunia Birik (KDF) 33.56, 19. Brenda Ajiambo (KDF) 31.20, 20. Miriam Chepkirui (GSU) 30.40