The 2023 edition of the Magical Kenya Ladies Open (MKLO) has received a massive boost after the East African Breweries PLC (EABL) announced a Ksh. 15 Million sponsorship towards the tournament.
The move has seen the company acquire the rights to be the tournament’s Official Alcoholic Beverages partner and will activate its sponsorship through its iconic premium spirits brand, Johnnie Walker.
According to EABL, the sponsorship is in line with the brand’s Keep Walking philosophy which aligns with the tournament’s mission of promoting gender diversity and inclusion by encouraging individuals to take bold actions and strive for progress in creating a more inclusive and equal sports industry.
At the event, EABL will be looking to provide a memorable experience to both the fans and players during the four-day Ladies European Tour (LET) tournament slated for 2nd – 5th February at the 18-hole PGA Baobab Course at Vipingo Ridge, Kilifi County.
The tournament is the only LET-sanctioned women’s professional golf competition in the East African region.
Speaking during the sponsorship announcement, EABL Marketing and Innovations Director Anne-Joy Michira said that the move is part of the company’s broader commitment towards supporting women’s inclusivity in society, with the MKLO presenting a perfect opportunity to showcase its support for women’s sports.
“We are very delighted to once again announce our partnership with the Magical Kenya Ladies Open. This sponsorship is a renewal of our enduring relationship with this premier tournament that boasts as the only professional women’s golf tournament in the East African region.
Johnnie Walker is a long-time supporter of the sport of golf and this is therefore a continuation of our commitment to the sport in the country.
We shall be looking to add life to the tournament through a range of activities that we shall be carrying out including providing entertainment at the village for the fans,” said Michira.
She added that the partnership is in line with EABL’s diversity and inclusion agenda: “As a company, we are also very committed to championing inclusivity in the sports arena across all fields, and therefore by sponsoring the Ladies Open, we’re hoping it will go a long way in supporting the lady golfers and empowering them to compete and grow to the next level of their career.
We, therefore, look forward to the tournament and hope it will turn out to be the best,” she added.
On his part, U.COM Event Managing Director Dirk Glittenberg said: “We are thrilled to welcome Johnnie Walker as a sponsor of the 2023 Magical Kenya Ladies Open.
Their commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion in sports aligns perfectly with the values of our tournament, and we are honored to have their support.
Together, we will work to make the game of golf more inclusive and accessible for all. Fans can expect the best of the Johnnie Walker experience, including entertainment and we welcome everyone to come and enjoy the tournament.
We are currently making final preparations for the event and we hope to have a great tournament.”
The 72-hole stroke play competition has proven a significant milestone in the sport’s history in Kenya. This year, the three-day tournament has attracted 96 professional lady golfers from across the World, including defending champion Germany’s Esther Henseleit.
The Kenyan flag will be flown by Naomi Wafula, Mercy Nyanchama, Nancy Wairimu, Chanelle Wangari and Jacquelyne Walters at the tournament which will be the first in a series of 39 events on the Ladies European Tour 2023 calendar – the most fixtures ever held on the Tour.
The Kenyan team will be looking to make a much stronger performance at the tournament than last year. The latest Kenyan entrant Jacquelyne Walter who has been based at Vipingo Ridge since its inception has been called up to the tournament, her first major competition.
Commenting on her participation, she said: “I am thrilled to have been invited by U.COM to participate in the Magical Kenya Ladies Open 2023 and to join four other talented Kenyan golfers in the tournament.
This is a wonderful opportunity for me to showcase my skills on a global stage and to represent my country with pride. I am putting in the hard work and dedication to prepare for the tournament.
I am focusing on my game, physical and mental strength, and working on strategies to give my best performance. I am honored to be a part of this tournament and I am determined to make my country proud.”
The tournament will be preceded by a Pro-Am set for 1st February where Kenya’s amateur golfers will team up with the professionals to battle it out in a friendly game before the main event.
Naomi Wafula and Mercy Nyanchama will be making their third appearance at the tournament, having featured in the 2019 and 2022 editions, while 16-year-old Chanelle Wangari will be featuring for the second time. Meanwhile, Nancy Wairimu will be making her maiden appearance at the tournament.
Spectators can purchase tickets to the four-day tournament through the online platform www.ticketsasa.com which are retailing for KES 500 per day.