What you need to know:
- Among top foreign athletes coming for the Kip Keino Classic are Tokyo Olympics men and women’s 3,000m steeplechase champions Soufiane El Bakkali from Morocco and Uganda’s Peruth Chemutai.
- El Bakkali was the first to arrive on Saturday morning.
The government will spend Sh250 million to ensure that the second edition of the Kip Keino Classic is staged successfully on Saturday at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
Sports Principal Secretary Joe Okudo, who took time to welcome the participating 265 athletes and officials for the last leg of the World Athletics Continental Gold Tour, said that the country has exhibited its prowess in successfully organising events despite Covid-19 challenges.
“The only challenge is that with all these exciting activities we have spread ourselves thin as they have been held back-to-back since March,” explained Okudo.
Okudo singled out the Kip Keino Classic that comes in the middle of the Deaflympics Africa ball qualifiers also ongoing at Kasarani and Nyayo National Stadium.
Magical Kenya Open Golf Championships and Savannah Classic Golf Championships were successfully staged in March this year with South Africans Justin Harding and Daniel van Tonder calling the shots to win. All the events were staged at Karen Country Club.
Then came the Safari Rally in June where Frenchman Sebastian Ogier won as the event returned to the World Rally Championships series after almost two decades.
Kenya hosted the World Under-20 Athletics Championships from August 18 to 22 at the Moi International Sports Centre. The world junior event had 958 athletes from 116 countries.
Okudo noted that Kip Keino Classic has attracted more and top crème athletes including medallists from the Tokyo Olympic Games.
“It signifies a resumption of sporting activity within the context of a Covid-19 environment, implying countries like Kenya have acquired skills sets on how to allow sports competitions to continue without putting lives at risk,” said Okudo.
Okudo said that this has been acknowledged by the international sporting community who are ready to release their respective athletes for competition in Kenya.
“It also shows that athletes all over the world are eager to resume their sporting trade after having suspended almost all competitions last year due to the pandemic,” said Okudo.
Among top foreign athletes coming for the Kip Keino Classic are Tokyo Olympics men and women’s 3,000m steeplechase champions Soufiane El Bakkali from Morocco and Uganda’s Peruth Chemutai.
El Bakkali was the first to arrive on Saturday morning.
Others are Tokyo Olympics hammer throw champion Wojciech Nowicki, Olympics 100m silver medallist Fred Kerley and Olympics 200m silver medallist Christine Mboma.
Three-time World 100m champion Justin Gatlin and the fastest 100m man this season Bromell Trayvon are also coming for the one-day Kip Keino Classic, alongside Commonwealth Games 400m champion Isaac Makwala of Botswana and World Under-20 200m bronze medallist, South Africa’s Sinesipho Dambile.