Sammy Onyango in acton at Frontier Shooting Range, South Africa [Caroline Obuya]

After three days of a sporting firing face-off, the Level IV Africa handgun championship 2021 came to a close with Kenya smiling back home with a bronze medal courtesy of Ibrahim Ndung’u.

The International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) competition which happens every three years brought together 392 contestants from South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Thailand, Germany, Norway and USA.

The Kenyan team which included Sammy Onyango (standard division) Ibrahim Ndungu (production), Gikonyo Mwangi (production), James Kariuki (production) and Sunny Syan (Open-Super senior division) started arriving in South Africa as early as 18th October.

“We came here to have fun and to represent our country. Kenya should not just be looked at as long distance runners; we are also involved in many other sports as a country,” said Sammy Onyango.

All shooters had to contend with 24 stages whereby they shot 8 stages per day for three consecutive days, on the 22nd -24th October, at Frontier shooting range.

According to the Kenyan shooters, the contest was not a very easy run because the stages are uniquely tough.

James Kariuki in action with Range Officer in pursuit.[ Caroline Obuya]

The kind of props they use in South Africa are not the same as the ones used in Kenya. The Kenyans were seeing most of the designs for the first time.

“Back home Kenyans shoot level one IPSC. This is a Level 4 contest, the speed is high, the challenge is good and it’s a good adrenaline push,” said Sammy Onyango.

Sammy Onyango sprints forwarded to shoot on target. [Caroline Obuya]

Most contestants in South Africa are seasoned shooters. While some have been in the sport for 15-20 years, the Kenyan contestants had only been shooting IPSC for between 6 months to 2 years.

South Africa’s Adiel Albertyn who has been shooting for 9 months now and had a round count of 484 in the championship couldn’t get enough of how he enjoyed the time spent with the Kenyan team.

Gikonyo Mwangi aims on target from a distance. [Caroline Obuya]

“All I can say is, what a wonderful weekend.

“Unfortunately I am not expecting any medal. It’s my first level 4 shooting championship, I was nervous and messed up a lot. But all in all I have progressed and gained experience,” said Adiel.

Unlike Adiel, bronze winner in Class C production division Ibrahim Ndung’u was optimistic of performing well in the contest.

“This is my second IPSC Nationals, I hope to perform well. The last time I was here I was number 18 overall, I’m working towards emerging top 10,” Ibrahim exuded confidence.

IPSC features different categories based on the gun that one is shooting with.

Ibrahim opines that shooting with someone who is using a most enhanced pistol is like competing with someone who has a car with a turbo charger.

Bronze winner Ibrahim Ndung’u in action at an enclosed design stage at Frontier shooting range South Africa. [Caroline Obuya]

That is why they classify the shoot into divisions so that each division can compete amongst themselves.

The contest faced a few challenges like the signal which was not very good at the range, and that kept interfering with the live scoring program online.

The other main challenge was the strong winds which kept falling down the targets while the shooters were in action.

Covid situation and sporting

Covid measures were strictly adhered to during the match. The shooters had to submit covid19 forms and go through the screening processes.

Congregating of persons is still moderated. Government now allows 750 persons indoors and 2000 outside.

The Vaccine drive in South Africa is still ongoing, and out of a population of 57 million people, they have inoculated close to 20 million.

The curfew in South Africa is still on from 12.00AM to 4.00AM and most hotels started opening only about 3 to 4 weeks ago.

In general the Covid situation in South Africa has gone down, something the sports fraternity says is a plus for sporting, but there is fear of the 4th wave in December.

Wanda Zama – Vice President South African Practical Shooting Association (SAPSA)

L-R, Ibrahim Ndung’u, Sammy Onyango, Wanda Zama (SAPSA Vice President) and Sunny Syan pose for at the awards ceremony. [Caroline Obuya]

I congratulate the committee for being able to pull off a championship of this nature. There were a few teething problems but in general it was a well-organized world class match.

There is no doubt that South Africa can host a world shooting championship.

Congratulations to all the winners, sometimes it is not about the winning but the experience of meeting new people.

Match was successfully handled and officially closed.

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