Monday, May 6, 2013
Mwangi walks away with Pilsner League of Kings Pool Challenge crown
The 25 year old Nakuru-born businessman took home Kshs. 250,000 and earned a two week trip to represent the country at the World Eight-ball Pool Championship in Blackpool, UK on June 23rd.
In an adrenaline-packed 16-man grand finale, Mwangi, qualifying from the Western Region beat Dennis Kimani from the Mountain Region 6-4 in a best of 11 to give the 3-month tournament a befitting final in a packed Soccer City, K1.
Mwangi’s win was somewhat considered a tilt of the pool establishment, with Nairobi region hugely expected to walk with the honors, with its national team-laden players filling the last 16 spot.
In the last 4, he had dispatched the crowd favourite and national pool champion Collins Tuwei 4-0 and waltzed past another Nairobi favourite Kingsley Nyangwacha 5-2 in the last 8. He had to fend off a marauding Rahim Haji from Coast in the last 16 knockouts earlier in the day, coming from behind to secure a 4-3 win.
The nail-biting finish was a perfect culmination to the Pilsner sponsored tournament that saw 40,000 player’s register from the grassroot level in 840 venues across the country.
The last sixteen had included 5 seasoned national team players John Chalo; Collins Tuwei, Salim Kithinji, Daniel Pasio and Rahim Haji while others included John Wanyiri, Simon Munyi, Steve Omare, Bernard Njoroge, Loius Khaemba, Dennis Kimani, Abdi Salam, James Kithinji, Kingsley Nyangwacha, James Nderitu and ultimate champion Martin Mwangi.
Pilsner Marketing Manager Raymond Ngala said the reach and impact of the tournament has been its greatest success and Pilsner would definitely be in for another shot at Pool.
“With 40,000 participants, we have not only curved a niche as the biggest Pool Challenge in Africa but achieved our overall aim to awaken its support from the grassroot to national level providing new experiences,” said Ngala.
He added: “The 16 finalists were all winners, the talent we have seen encourages us to invest more in the pool sport in the next few years. Pilsner League of Kings Pool Challenge will be back.”
Kenya Pool Players Association Ashok Shah lauded the tournament as an appropriate platform to transform fortunes of Kenyan pool players but said more corporate support would be welcome to spur the game to greater heights.
“The Pilsner League of Kings Pool Challenge has set an important precedent to other corporate sponsors in support of alternative sport in the country and their involvement will help shape talent and grow sports like Pool into a fully accepted national game,” he said.
The tournament was played in 840 venues in 6 regions Central (covering Kiambu, Nairobi and lower Eastern), Western (Nyanza, Western and Rift Valley), Mountain (Central and Upper Eastern), Coast and AFCO pitting armed forces barracks.
The Pilsner League of Kings Pool Challenge, a remake ofSimba wa Kenya Pilsner Pool Challenge, which was held a decade ago, was launched mid-January to the relief of pool enthusiasts.
The tournament is part of EABL’s national strategy to supports sports properties while at the same time providing consumer experiences and reward to empower communities and inspire generations.