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R&A Announces Support for Three African Golf Initiatives
The R&A has announced awarded grants to golf initiatives in southern, eastern and northern Africa of £52,000, which forms part of a total commitment to golf of more than £500,000 on the continent over the coming year.
£28,000 will be given to next year's Zone VI international team championship, an annual event contested by up to 15 African nations, which has been supported by the R&A since 1997. The 2010 event will return to Botswana's Gaborone Golf Club for the first time since 2001. The R&A will be represented in 2010 to support the championship where South Africa will defend the title they won at Chapman Golf Club in Harare, Zimbabwe, last year.
The R&A will contribute £12,000 towards four new Zimbabwean development academies. Two will be based in Harare (population 1,600,000), with one in Bulawayo (676,000) and one in Gweru (300,000). Thirty sets of clubs will also be sent to the country for junior development programs. Developed jointly by the Zimbabwe Golf Association and the R&A, each facility will be known as a "Development Academy supported by the R&A."
In North Africa, the biennial Africa Amateur Golf Team Championship will receive £12,000. It will be held later this month at Dreamland Golf and Tennis Resort in Cairo, Egypt, from September 29th to October 2nd. South Africa won the 2007 event when it was played at Rossmund Golf Club in Swakopmund, Namibia. The R&A has supported this event since 2001.
"The R&A has been supporting golf in Africa for over a decade now and has provided assistance in over 20 countries there," said Duncan Weir, the R&A's Director of Golf Development. "Many of those countries now send players to compete in our Junior Open and we can reasonably expect African golf to continue to progress; particularly if golf's Olympic bid is successful."
The East African Golf Challenge, an annual event contested by Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, received £6,000. The event was held at Entebbe Golf Club, Uganda, earlier this month on August 31st to September 5th. The tournament has received almost £50,000 over the eight years of R&A involvement.
The R&A has now supported golf in 21 African countries through event support, coaching grants, and the provision of playing and maintenance equipment. The countries supported so far include: Botswana; Burundi; Egypt; Gabon; Ghana; Ivory Coast; Kenya; Libya; Malawi; Morocco; Namibia; Nigeria; Rwanda; Sierra Leone; South Africa; Swaziland; Tanzania; Tunisia; Uganda; Zambia and Zimbabwe.