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A record 100 players have confirmed participation for next week’s Kenya Open Championships at the Nairobi Club. The week-long show will see 60 players featuring in the men’s draw and 40 in the women’s category.

There will be qualifying tournament for both categories starting tomorrow. Six men’s players will earn ticket to the first round with eight women also advancing to the stage. A total of 42 men and 32 women will also earn direct entry to the first round based on their previous performance and seeding.

Among the players who have confirmed participation in the men’s category are Ismael Changawa, Ibrahim Yego, Petty Andanda, Suhail Hooker, Mwendwa Mutuku, Derrick Ominde, Dhuruv Kavia, Brandon Sagala and Samuel Urasa among others . Zambia’s Edgar Kazembe leads the foreign entries alongside Ernest Habiyamere of Rwanda, Sudan’s Jacob Makuach and Hiroka Ishida of Japan

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Shufaa Changawa will spearhead the women’s onslaught as she seeks to win a third Kenya Open title crown after triumphs in 2011 and 2014 . She expects competition fro the likes of Sneha Kotecha, Burundi’s Aiysha Niyonkuru and Gabon’s Celestine Avomo Ella. Other home players to watch—Angela Okutoyi, Rosehilda Asumwa, Yvette Akoth, Alicia Owegi and Cynthia Cheruto. Britam Insurance are sponsoring the event to a tune of Sh3 million.

Uganda’s Duncan Mugabe and Natali Coronel of Argentina are the defending champions. Mugabe beat Sheil Kotecha 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the men’s final as Coronel edged out Gabon’s Celestine Avomo Ella 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 in the women’s affair. Tennis Kenya vice chairman Francis Mutuku said he expects an exciting tournament. “It will be a good and competitive tournament and we hope our players will do well,” he said. Mutuku said they have incorporated a section for development, which will target youngsters aged below 10, eight and six and beginners. The tournament’s referee is Patrick Kamuhia, while Rose Wanjala is the championships’ director.

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