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German Esther Henseleit wins inaugural Magical Kenya Ladies Open

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Germany’s Esther Henseleit shot a course-record round of 64 on the final day of the Magical Kenya Ladies Open to make history as the first winner of the tournament with a total score of 14-under par 274 –one shot ahead of her nearest challenger.

Her final day performance saw her do what many considered to be the unthinkable -turning a seven-shot gap into a win. She played a flawless round to hand in a bogey-free scorecard, adorned with eight birdies, and one which will take quite some effort to topple as one of the most incredible comebacks in the history of the game.

She carded a front nine total of 31, courtesy of birdies at the par-4 first, par-3 fourth, par-5 sixth, par-4 seventh and the par-4 ninth. She followed the superb front nine display with a near-similar performance on the back nine, holing birdies at the 11th, 13th and 15th for a total of 33.

Having already sealed the 2019 Ladies European Tour Rookie of the Year title, Esther added another feather to her cap by becoming the 2019 LET Order of Merit Champion having taken maximum points from the tourney (150) to take her total points tally for the season to 743.06.

Speaking after the win, she said: “To close the season with a win is the best I could imagine and to be the Order of Merit winner is just unbelievable. I just tried to play many birdies, I hit really good irons and played many short birdie putts and managed to play it good. The course played a bit easier today because the greens were a bit softer.”

For her outstanding work, Esther took home Euros 45,000 (over Sh5 million) in addition to the Euros 2,000 (Sh 224,000) she won earlier in the week after clinching the individual pro win at the Pro-Am event of the tournament.

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Aditi Ashok from India shot an impressive round of 65 on the final day of the tournament to end her Magical Kenya Ladies Open campaign with a 13-under par 275 score to finish in second place. She too was impressive, holing eight birdies and an eagle but dropped three shots at the par-3 eighth. For her outstanding effort, she took home Euros 27,000 (Sh3 Million).

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It was disappointment for Saturday’s overnight leader, Julia Engström from Sweden, who had a final day she might rather forget after she carded a 2-over par 74 round to take her total to 11-under 277 -three shots off the lead. She struggled with form, hitting only two birdies and dropping shots at the third, 10th, 13th and 17th holes. Her performance saw her take home Euros 18,000 (Sh2 million) so not all was lost.

Meanwhile, speaking at the prize-giving ceremony, Kenya’s First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta, lauded the organisers for putting together the event adding that it spoke to the great potential the venue has to hold global tournaments.

Speaking at the same venue, Sports, Culture and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed said the Government is committed to ensuring that the tournament remains an annual event, adding that next year’s tournament will be bigger as a result of greater concerted efforts.

On his part, Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said the event had greatly enhanced the country’s profile as a preferred sports and tourism destination, adding that with more sponsors, the event will grow into an even bigger success.




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Europe beckons for South African rugby after Kiwi snub

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Jul 20World Cup-winning Springbok Schalk Brits believes the future of South African rugby lies in Europe after New Zealand said there was no room for sides from the republic in Super Rugby.

“All of this jet lag and flying across different time zones just does not work,” said the hooker who retired after the triumphant 2019 World Cup campaign.

“We have got so many South Africans playing in Europe and it would be awesome to see them in action here for European clubs.”

With New Zealand favouring a trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition, South Africa Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux will address the media Tuesday about the way forward.

There has been no rugby in South Africa since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, which claimed 5,033 lives by late Sunday, the most in an African country.

Here, AFP Sport looks at the possibilities for the world champions Springboks and Super Rugby teams the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers.

Rugby Championship

There has been speculation that the six-round annual tournament will be cut to four matches with New Zealand and Australia playing in South Africa only every second year.

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That would be a huge blow for SA Rugby coffers as the century-old rivalry with the All Blacks makes them a huge drawcard.

South Africa might consider abandoning the Championship and pursuing a suggestion by former All Blacks Justin Marshall and Jeff Wilson for three-Test tours between the great rivals.

“British and Irish Lions tours are so successful because we look forward to them,” noted another ex-All Black, John Kirwan. The same could be said of an All Blacks-Springboks series.

‘Seven Nations’

Should South African franchises move north, would the Springboks follow suit and apply to join England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales in a ‘Seven Nations’ championship?

Having the world champions on board would surely excite the organisers and costs would be greatly reduced if the Springboks played their three away matches on consecutive weekends.

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England, Ireland, France and Wales, in particular, would bring freshness for rugby followers, who have not rushed to the turnstiles for Championship visits by Australia and Argentina.

Ask the SA Rugby treasurer for his ‘dream’ line-up and he would surely say a multi-Test tour by the All Blacks and participation in the ‘Seven Nations’.

Super Rugby

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Although not official yet, the reality is that New Zealand want to play some Australian sides and the Pacific Islands in a new competition while excluding South Africa and Argentina.

The original version, a Super 10 between 1993 and 1995, was a superb competition, but constant tinkering and expansion has led to waning interest in a difficult-to-follow event.

Even those supporting the Golden Lions of South Africa could not have derived too much satisfaction from a 94-7 thrashing of Japanese visitors the Sunwolves three years ago.

South Africa sides often battled with time differences in Australasia — New Zealand is 11 hours ahead of the republic — and were weary after four-match tours.

‘Pro16’

Pro14 chief executive Martin Anayi says he would welcome Super Rugby ‘rejects’ the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers into an expanded edition.

“The tournament works well but could be even better if we added some South African teams,” he said, referring to a competition that also includes Irish, Italian, Scottish and Welsh teams.

But there may be no room for the two current South African Pro14 participants, the Cheetahs and Kings, who have experienced very different fortunes.

While the Cheetahs have been competitive, the Kings won just four of 55 matches in three seasons with some of the losing margins embarrassing.

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Currie Cup

The domestic competition has survived constant format changes to remain the vital ‘nursery’ from which Springboks emerge.

First staged in 1892, it was the bedrock of South African rugby until the dawn of professionalism after the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

As Test and Super Rugby fixtures took up an increasing amount of the season, the Currie Cup often battled for calendar space.

But it survived and this year could feature the four Super Rugby sides plus the Cheetahs, Kings, Griquas and Pumas, if play is possible amid the coronavirus.

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Kenya records highest number of deaths from Covid-19

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Kenya records highest number of deaths from Covid-19

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Kenya’s coronavirus cases rise to 13,771 after 418 more infections

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By NATION REPORTER

Kenya on Monday reported 418 more Covid-19 infections, raising the country’s tally to 13,771 since the virus was first confirmed on March 13.

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Health Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rashid Aman also reported four more deaths, raising the toll to 238. He rectified an earlier report about 19 deaths in a single day, which would have been the highest number ever recorded in Kenya.

The 418 new patients were found following the testing of 2,474 samples in the last 24 hours.

Four hundred and eight of them were Kenyans and 10 foreigners while male patients numbered 263 and female patients 155.

Dr Aman also announced that 494 patients had been discharged, raising the country’s total number of recoveries to 5,616.

Of the recovered patients, 465 were under home care and the rest in hospitals.

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