Organisers finalise plans for Sirikwa Classic World Cross Country Tour
What you need to know:
- Some foreign athletes, who have confirmed participation are Burundi’s Oscar Niyonzima, Johannes Motschmann and Frank Schauer (Germany), Ukraine’s Vitaly Shafar and Kenyan-born Turkish Hillary Yego in the men’s race.
- In the women’s category, Mismas Murusa, Gurth Olivia, Svenja Clemens Linn Klein, Anneke Vortmeier, Esther Jakobitz, Eritrea’s Nitsiha Niguese and Uganda’s Lovisa Kissa have signed up.
Organisers of the Sirikwa Classic World Cross Country Tour Gold series are finalising preparations for the race scheduled for Saturday at Lobo Village in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County.
The Kenyan leg of the World Cross Country Tour calendar, which was known as Memorial Agnes Tirop World Athletics Cross Country Gold Tour last year, was renamed.
The inaugural race, held at the same venue last year, was named in honour of 2015 World Athletics Cross Country Championships winner Agnes Tirop, who was murdered at her home in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County on October 13, 2021.
Her estranged husband Ibrahim Rotich is in custody after denying murder charges in court.
The chairman of the Local Organising Committee, three-time Boston Marathon champion Ibrahim Hussein, said Tuesday that technical officials are putting final touches on the course.
In an interview with Nation Sport, Hussein who was the first Kenyan and African to win the New York Marathon, said he is proud to host the event for the second year running.
Hussein, who was inducted to Hall of Fame of the New York Marathon in 2021 alongside Gary Muhrcke, Liz McColgan, Kurt Fearnley and Shalane Flanagan, owns the race venue which the World Athletics technical team has certified as one of the best courses.
“Many athletes have confirmed their attendance, and they will be using the race as part of their build up for the track season which begins this month,” said Hussein.
Some foreign athletes, who have confirmed participation are Burundi’s Oscar Niyonzima, Johannes Motschmann and Frank Schauer (Germany), Ukraine’s Vitaly Shafar and Kenyan-born Turkish Hillary Yego in the men’s race.
In the women’s category, Mismas Murusa, Gurth Olivia, Svenja Clemens Linn Klein, Anneke Vortmeier, Esther Jakobitz, Eritrea’s Nitsiha Niguese and Uganda’s Lovisa Kissa have signed up.
Hussein said that artificial hills, mud and logs have been introduced on the course, in place of bushes, hills and rivers so that spectators can have a feel of the real battle.
“Last year we had obstacles, but the most interesting part for spectators was the race in mud. However, we received feedback from athletes who said that it was strenuous. This year we changed that to a trench which resembles that of steeplechase races. We expect a good race on Saturday,” he said.
The athletics legend, who is also the director of Africa Athletics Development Centre in Nairobi, said that there will be music to entertain spectators.
Barnaba Korir, who is the event’s chief executive officer, said that Kenya has made tremendous improvement in organising international events.
“We hosted the World Athletics Under-18 Championships in 2017, World Athletics U-20 Championships in 2021 and the Kip Keino Classic Continental Tour and the Sirikwa Classic. Kenya has shown that it is capable of hosting more international races, and we want to perfect things as we move forward,” said Korir.