Kenya is among the few countries that have managed to stage major sporting championships this year despite Covid-19 challenges.
As the dust settles on the hugely successful 2020 World Athletics Under-20 Championships staged at Moi International Sports Centre, in Nairobi, the country is preparing to host the second edition of the Kip Keino Classic.
This is the final competition in the 2021 World Athletics Continental Gold Tour, an annual series of track and field competitions that form the second tier of international one-day meetings after the Diamond League.
The Kip Keino Classic is due on Saturday, when the African Deaflympics Championships begin in Nairobi. The latter will have 12 countries competing in ball games with winners representing the continent at the 2022 Deaflympics in Brazil.
Kenya has also successfully hosted other international championships this year. The Magical Kenya Open Golf Championship and the Savannah Classic Golf Championship took place in March at Karen Golf Club with South African nationals Justin Harding and Daniel van Tonder the respective winners. Then came the World Rally Championship Safari Rally in June, which Frenchman Sebastian Ogier won. The event was returning to the world series after almost two decades.
And last week, World Athletics picked Eldoret as the host city of the new 2022 World Cross Country Tour.
The government has spent more than Sh3.5 billion to stage these international championships, affirming the country’s position as a leading sports destination. That Kenya hosted these championships amid the pandemic speaks volumes about the country’s organisational skills.
Having set the bar so high, officials must continue to uphold high standards of hosting international events while strictly observing health protocols.
More importantly, the organising committee must ensure that the facilities used for staging such events are preserved for the benefit of local athletes to ensure a steady flow of champions from local training camps.