Disc Golf Thrives in Zambia
Less than two years ago the Marco Polo grant was the start of something big in Zambia, Africa. With the help of the grant, Eagles Wings Disc Golf took a team of 8 to Zambia to install a 9 hole disc golf course and teach the sport. The sport was very well received the week we were there and the team left with high hopes that disc golf would take root. Looking back things have progressed far more than anyone dreamed at the time.
Elem Katambo is a native staff member of Push The Rock Zambia, and helps to manage the course that was installed. Before the team left Elem predicted that he saw disc golf as something that would have “long life” in Zambia. It turns out not only was he right, but he would lead the way in making that happen.
This past weekend Elem made the trek to Ethiopia to participate in the first PDGA sanctioned event in all of Africa, the Ethiopian Open. Getting Elem there was no easy task as traveling in Africa can be expensive, but as it so often does, the generosity of the disc golf community came through. John Luetzow and Yohannes Desalegn, the event organizers, offered to take care of all in country expenses. On top of that they paid his entry to the event, and made him the first PDGA member of Zambia! A number of disc golfers from the states chipped in for air fare and he was on his way.
Elem greatly enjoyed the experience and ended up being the top amateur at the event. He had this to say, “The tournament was good because I got to interact with professionals from different countries. Seeing their levels of skill was something to admire and helped me have something to aim for. The fact that the tournament was under the PDGA was great for me. To be part of that felt so good.”
Not only did this experience serve to motivate Elem to continue to develop his skills, but has sparked new thoughts on how disc golf can grow in Zambia. This week he will do a presentation to the kids from his village that he works with regularly, and is excited about the prospect of inspiring some of them to hone their skills further. He has also initiated dialogue to figure out how we can install an additional 9 holes and run the first Zambian PDGA event.
Zambia disc golf is a prime example of why the disc golf community is like no other. The marco polo grant made the course installation possible. Innova Champion Disc donated all the initial equipment to make it happen. Udisc, Upper Park Designs, and countless others have invested to keep things going, and John and Yohannes have made it possible for Elem to see what Zambia disc golf could become.
The sky is the limit for disc golf in Zambia!
For a recap of Elem’s journey, read this story from Push the Rock – Zambia!
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