Defending champion and Uganda international Ian Rukunya defeated John Kahara 2-0 on Saturday to romp into the second round of the Kengen Nakuru Open International Squash Championship, as the competition entered day two at the Rift Valley Sports Club.
Rukunya who toppled veteran defending champion Modecci Kabamba in his five year stint in the tournament did not find it easy towards his victory against Kahara who also gave a good account of himself despite losing.
“I’m determined to retain the title although the field doesn’t look difficult for me. However, it will not be a walk in the park. I wish it were that easy,”said the 28 year old Uganda international who has also taken part in the Prince Grand Prix Championship in South Africa in 2014.
Rukunya who also represented Uganda in 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games in India and Glasgow (Scotland) said his main opponents are compatriot Paul Kadoma and Kenya’s James Dalidi since they are polished and are playing well.
“I have respect for these two players because of their accomplishments in serious championships like these ones,” he told Citizen Digital Sports.
Rukunya was set to face off against Jay Shah who had dismissed Nickson Ndungire of Ken Gen by the same margin.
In the women’s category, Elizabeth Mulwa cruised to the quarterfinal after a 3-0 thumping of Charity Kioko.
On her way up, Mulwa defeated Jane Njeri 2-0 in the opening match before smashing Kioko, who herself registered a 2-0 victory over Caroline Ireri in her opening match. Mulwa said that she is also keen to retain her title
“I’m determined to do it once again and one has to attend regular and proper fitness levels in order to attain all these,” she said in an interview.
Meanwhile, the tournament has been sponsored to a tune of Sh. 1.25 million, of which Sh 750,000 has been used in the refurbishment of the squash courts at the Rift Valley Sports Club.
Speaking after they handed over the cheque to Rift Valley Sports Club officials led by Director DepeeJoley, Kengen chairman Joshua Choge promised to increase the sponsorship package by a further Sh 250,000 next season.
“This is to ensure we attract some of the top talents in the region,” said Choge.