Kenya’s Canoe slalom kayaker wins in Sagana

Friday, April 19th, 2024 07:30 | By
Kenyan Slalom Canoe Kayaker Samuel Muturi (Right) celebrates alongside his team mate after being unveiled as the Central Tujiamini Gold Award Winner.
Kenyan Slalom Canoe Kayaker Samuel Muturi (Right) celebrates alongside his team mate after being unveiled as the Central Tujiamini Gold Award Winner. PHOTO/Print

Samuel Muturi, the 29-year old Canoeing Slalom Kayaker currently stretching the boundaries of sports and talent in Kenya, has been unveiled as the Gold Winner central region in the ongoing Tujiamini Initiative powered by SportPesa.

Muturi who made history when he became the first Kenyan Salom Canoe kayaker to reach a semifinal at the 2019 World Championships in La Seu d’Urgell in Spain during his debut, received a Sh 500,000 award in support and recognition of his talent and which he now seeks to take to the next level with a vision to be Kenya’s first-ever Olympic canoe slalom kayaker.

During the unveiling that took place at the Savage Wilderness Whitewater Rafting Centre in Sagana, Kirinyaga County, Muturi’s prowess was evident as he displayed his skills and mastery in the water paddling sport alongside one of his teammates.

“I have participated in several events, four world championships and three Africa championships including the Africa Olympic Qualifiers held in Sainte Suzanne, La Reunion, in February. It is not easy however for us to train around here because we don’t have a permanent course. While we try our best with what we have, water sports equipment is expensive and we have no choice but to train with our old gears. Therefore, a support like this will really help us improve kayaking and canoeing in Kenya,” said Muturi.

As he continues to make waves in the world of water sports, with an aim to represent Kenya in the 2028 Olympics, Muturi elaborated his commitment to attract young talent in growing the niche sport in the country. Muturi trains local youngsters around his home in Sagana, hoping to encourage more people to take up water sports and put canoe slalom kayaking on the Kenyan Olympic agenda.

At the 2019 World Championships, Muturi achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first Kenyan canoe slalom kayaker to qualify for a semifinal in an international competition. Muturi who competes in the K1 and C1 categories including the extreme Slalom discipline currently works with his Coach, Titus Mureithi and about 20 teammates, domiciled at the Savage Wilderness Whitewater Rafting Centre as his training grounds.

According to Coach Mureithi, the Tujiamini initiative offers a very good platform for talent at all levels and Samuel’s award resonates perfectly with the intended impact on emerging talents.

Willis Ojwang, the Communication and Advertising Manager, SportPesa, noted the uniqueness of water rafting and paddling sports such as Canoeing and Kayaking which are relatively unknown in Kenya but which have a huge potential in mopping up talent in the grassroots.

“As a young boy, Muturi Watched rafters float downstream, igniting his passion for water sports. Today he is a trailblazer who is not only committed to achieving his dream of representing Kenya as the country’s first-ever Olympic canoe slalom kayaker, but has chosen to also inspire other young people to take up the sport. That is the true essence of believing in oneself. This is what Tujiamini Initiative is all about,” he said.

Muturi’s unveiling follows that of four and other 80 winners in the silver and bronze categories respectively, over the weekend during the conclusion of the Tujiamini Cheza Dimba Tournament in Kirinyaga. The Tujiamini Initiative that aims to give a showcase platform for both individual and community grassroots sports and related talents now moves to the Eastern region covering 11 counties where other Gold, Silver, bronze and Tujiamini Cheza Dimba winners will be announced in one month’s time.

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