What you need to know:
- The government has increasingly turned to sporting activities and top local personalities to profile Kenya as a preferred tourism destination in Africa.
- Meanwhile, Tokyo’s new Olympic Stadium will host its first track and field meeting on 23 August, Exactly two weeks after the 2020 Games’ athletics were due to end, World Athletics announced on Friday. The field will be largely made up of Japanese or Japan-based athletes.
Had all factors been constant, Eliud Kipchoge would have been in the Japanese city of Sapporo this weekend.
Of course not for the beer that this scenic Hokkaido Prefecture city is famous for, but to defend his Olympic Marathon title.
The Olympic marathon race was shifted to Sapporo by organisers who feared the searing temperatures in the capital Tokyo could have hurt the runners.
And indeed, the weatherman projects 32 degrees Celcius in Tokyo this weekend, which would have been race weekend, with Sapporo — 800 kilometres north of Tokyo — at a cooler 26.
Similar conditions prevailed yesterday which would have been Day 12 of the Tokyo Olympic Games that were pushed to same period next year owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
On Wednesday, Japan’s death toll from Covid-19 stood at 1,027 with the Tokyo metropolitan government confirming 263 new positive cases.
And with the world’s greatest sporting showcase having “migrated” from Tokyo, albeit temporarily, Kipchoge will be in the scenic and world-famous Maasai Mara to witness the legendary wildebeest migration.
While at the Mara, Kipchoge will also keep an eye on 190 Great Dover Street, London, home of London Marathon Events Ltd, organisers of the annual Virgin London Marathon.
It’s from here that race director Hugh Brasher will announce whether or not this year’s London Marathon will still hold on October 4.
Tokyo and London aside, Kipchoge — the first man to run a sub two-hour marathon — will be out in the Mara for the first time to take a breather from his hectic training schedule that’s been interspersed with food relief missions to help athletes and other vulnerable Kenyans whose lives have been impacted negatively by effects of the pandemic.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala will be among dignitaries watching the migration with Kipchoge who will also carry out a light training session in the Mara as part of his preparations for, hopefully, the October 4 London Marathon.
“I would like to visit Maasai Mara as I have never been there before. I am planning to visit to see for myself, with my own eyes, that these wonders are actually moving to the other side of the country,” he said of the wildebeest migration.
The visit comes days after it was announced that Kipchoge had signed up a partnership with the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) to be a destination ambassador for Kenya.
The engagement, which started last month, will see the distance running legend promote Kenya as a preferred tourism destination both locally, regionally and internationally through various campaigns.
KTB chief executive officer Betty Radier, said that the board is pleased to have Kipchoge committed to promoting “destination Kenya” adding that the Olympic champion, among other marathoners, is Kenya’s greatest asset and has put the destination on the global map.
“I am passionate and love my country dearly and it is an honor to be working with KTB on projects geared towards propelling Kenya as a preferred tourist destination globally,” Kipchoge chipped in.
“Kenya has a lot to offer, and I urge local and foreign visitors to explore and experience what the country has to offer.”
The government has increasingly turned to sporting activities and top local personalities to profile Kenya as a preferred tourism destination in Africa.
Meanwhile, Tokyo’s new Olympic Stadium will host its first track and field meeting on 23 August, Exactly two weeks after the 2020 Games’ athletics were due to end, World Athletics announced on Friday. The field will be largely made up of Japanese or Japan-based athletes.
“Given the travel restrictions that Japan currently faces, the meeting will be largely a national competition, while a few Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes who compete for Japanese professional clubs may also take part,” global governing body World Athletics said in a statement.
It added that “five of the fastest 11 Japanese men of all time will line up in the 100 metres.”
The stadium held its first sports event, the Emperors Cup final football match on January 1.