Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) hosted the inaugural Kenya Koshien Baseball Championship on Saturday, August 12, 2023. The JKUAT baseball grounds commonly known as the field of dreams provided the backdrop for the inaugural event, which witnessed the fusion of the Japanese baseball legacy with the Kenyan passion for sportsmanship and competition.
The tournament named after the iconic Koshien Stadium in Japan renowned for hosting the National High School Baseball Championship, unfolded as a testament to the growing fan base of the game in Kenya, especially among the youths.
The tournament which featured only high-school participants namely; Kongoni (Western), Olympic (Nairobi), Grandsons of Abraham (Kilifi) and Kai Murunya (Kajiado) was brought to the University courtesy of Japan-Africa Baseball and Softball Foundation (J-ABS).
The event was aimed at nurturing baseball talent, while paying homage to the essence of the Koshien tradition.
In her welcoming remarks, JKUAT Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, said “the event stands as a monumental testament to the convergence of determination, collaboration, and aspirations of partners that made the tournament possible.”
In a speech read on her behalf by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration and Finance, Prof. Bernard Ikua, the Vice Chancellor underscored the significance of the JKUAT baseball grounds in shaping the future of baseball in Kenya.
“From hosting the National Little League Champions, whose youthful exuberance showcased exceptional talents, to providing the stage for the prestigious National Baseball for Africa Tournament, this has not only elevated the stature of our university but also magnified the prominence of sports within Kenya,” said Prof. Ngumi.
The Vice Chancellor further noted that the Kenya-Japan partnership has been successful not only in baseball but also in other spheres.
“As we inaugurate the Kenya Koshien Tournament, we simultaneously celebrate a partnership that transcends continents and cultures,” said Prof. Ngumi.
The Ambassador of Japan to Kenya, Okaniwa Ken congratulated the organizers for actualizing the event. He further expressed his admiration of the JKUAT baseball fields
The Ambassador conveyed his congratulations to the event’s organizers for the successful execution of the occasion. He also extended his admiration to JKUAT for their dedicated efforts in the development of the baseball fields.
Ambassador Okaniwa emphasized that the Koshien tournament will contribute to the enhancement of the positive bilateral relationship between Kenya and Japan.
“The relationship between Kenya and Japan has been great. This tournament will further enhance the bond of friendship between Kenya and Japan,” said. Amb. Okaniwa.
Borrowing from his life as a baseball player, Amb. Okaniwa revealed that baseball taught him how to be a team player in his current player.
The President of J-ABS, Mr. Tomonari Shinya congratulatory the partnering institutions that were key in the organization of the tournament.
He revealed that the Koshien Tournament holds the key to Japan’s success in baseball having been ranked as world’s number one in seven consecutive times.
“The secret to Japan’s strength lies in the Koshien Tournament which is an all Japan high-school baseball championship,” said Mr. Tomonari.