Koonce trains in Botswana ahead of Youth Games

RWANDA’S SOLE golf representative at this year’s African Youth Games, Aaron Taylor Koonce has completed a vigorous  three-day training tour of Botswana ahead of the event set for May 22-31.
Aaron Taylor Koonce (L) won the Rwanda Open title for youth players recently in Kigali. (Courtesy)
Aaron Taylor Koonce (L) won the Rwanda Open title for youth players recently in Kigali. (Courtesy)

RWANDA’S SOLE golf representative at this year’s African Youth Games, Aaron Taylor Koonce has completed a vigorous  three-day training tour of Botswana ahead of the event set for May 22-31.

The 17-year-old Koonce trained for a total of 20 hours at the Gaborone Golf Club last week during his stay in Gaborone, the host city of the African Youth Games.

“The course is flatter than the one in Kigali and the greens are faster and some of the holes are longer but it is very ok,” Koonce told Times Sport.

Koonce, who is a handicap 8, enjoyed the 18-hole course that he described as beautiful and located in a good spot.

“If you happen to be in trouble after a bad shot, it is easier to recover. There are only a few water hazards which are less than the Kigali course so that shouldn’t be much of a problem,” Koonce added.

The Grade 11 student at Kigali International Community School  noted that playing on the course before the tournament will give him an advantage ahead of the three-day (May 26-28) tournament because he knows the distances.

He also defined the bunkers as comprising of dense sand which means that, “I have to take a lower lofty club than I am used to, to get out of the bunkers but that shouldn’t be a problem. It is a minor adjustment.”

Koonce is hopeful to finish with a medal for Rwanda but he knows that the competition from Zambia, South Africa and Zimbabwe will be tough as these are the strongest African nations in golf.

Golf is one of the 12 sporting disciplines that Rwanda will participate in Gaborone. A total of  48 athletes – 28 female and 20 male will represent Rwanda in athletics, basketball, boxing, cycling, fencing, karate, lawn tennis, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo and volleyball.

This is the first time that Rwanda will be competing at the continental youth event which will also be a qualifying event for athletics, basketball and swimming to the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.

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