NAIROBI– The Government has doubled its sponsorship of the premier golf tournament the Kenya Open ‘ to 2.2 million euros, President Uhuru Kenyatta said.

And government will continue to use sports as one way of uniting Kenyans and creating opportunities for the youth, the President said at the end of this year’s Kenya Open Golf Tournament on Sunday.

The President said because of its potential to attract more trade, investment and tourists, the Government would allocate substantial resources to facilitate growth sports across all disciplines and enable the Kenyan youth hone their talents in various sporting fields.

The Kenya Open Golf Championship is marking 50th anniversary.

The President said the fresh funding would enable the Kenya Golf Open to join the main European Tour next year.

Proceed with your plans to have Kenya Open join the main European Tour in 2019, President Kenyatta told Kenya Open organisers.

This year’s tournament was won by the Italian, Lorenzo Gagli, who took home a first prize of 80,000 euros (KSH 10 million ) after a double playoff against Jens Fahrbring of Sweden who became second and won the prize of 55,000 euros (Ksh 6 8 million).

The President assured the golf fraternity of his Government’s support in ensuring success in all their endeavours.

He also said the Government would help facilitate the development of a golf academy in Lenana whose aim is to nurture golf talent.

The President said the academy would increase the nurturing and developing of golf skills among the youth in the country.

The President also thanked Kenyans who took part in this years’ competition saying although they didn’t emerge winners they would one day excel.

The President however said there is need for more golf events to be held in the country to ensure that amateurs are exposed to many games which would serve as training events.

He expressed gratitude that plans were under way for a Safari Tour, a professional golf tour that will also serve as a training ground for juniors and amateurs � which is aimed at exposing them not just to local competition, but also to competition from other golfers in the region.

The championship attracted 156 top golfers, among them 22 Kenyans, making it one of the most lucrative tournament on the European Tour qualifiers after raising its prize fund to mark the 50th edition.