A 16-year-old chess enthusiast from Kitui County, who qualified to represent Kenya in the annual African Youth Chess Championship in Namibia, is distraught after his efforts to secure sponsorship for the trip hit a dead end.
Joshua Mwendwa is among 12 chess players who qualified to represent the country in the prestigious sporting event after emerging best in the Kenya National Youth & Cadet Chess Championship (KNYCCC) held in Karatina in April.
The championships will be held at Windhoek Country Club Hotel & Casino, Windhoek, Namibia from December 14 to December 22, 2019.
Speaking to press in Kitui Town, Mwendwa, who is a form three student at Mosa secondary school in Kitui South, regretted that he was on the verge of losing an opportunity of his life as his family was unable to raise the funds.
“I love chess very much and I’ve been playing up to the national levels since I joined high school in 2017.
“It really breaks my heart to realize that I finally qualified for international competitions but due to financial difficulties I’m like to miss out,” he lamented.
His father Ngali Mwangangi said that the County Government of Kitui’s sports department had declined to sponsor his son’s sporting trip to Namibia despite being requested by Chess Kenya Federation to chip in.
“We are required to raise Sh.374,000 to meet costs of registration, entry fees, accommodation, passport, air ticket, visa, travel insurance and Yellow Fever certificate, among others,” revealed Mwangangi.
He added that he had exhausted all possible options to secure sponsorship for his chess master son and appealed to well-wishers to come to his aid.