Paula Radcliffe backs Kenya's 2025 World Championship bid

 Paula Radcliffe

Former marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe addresses the media at EKA Hotel, Nairobi on December 19, 2021.

Photo credit: Ayumba Ayodi | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Rabat, Morocco is the only venue in Africa that hosts Diamond League.
  • The 10,000m, 5,000m, 3,000m steeplechase and 200m alongside discus and triple jump were cut from Diamond League.

Former world marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe is supporting Kenya’s bid for the 2025 World Athletics Championships.

At the same time, the British legendary distance runner said the decision to strike out distance running events and jumps from prime time at Diamond League events wasn’t wise.

Radcliffe, who is on a charity mission in the country, said that Kenya has shown that it has the capacity to host another major athletics championship following the success of the 2017 World Athletics Under-18 and 2021 World Athletics Under-20 Championships.

Radcliffe, a three-time World Half Marathon champion and 2005 World marathon champion, also noted the success of the Kip Keino Classic.

“The two events went ahead with a flow and I was here to witness the Under-18 Championships,” said Radcliffe, adding that Africa has produced many runners, but the continent is under-represented in terms of championships.

“That opportunity has to come sooner rather than later,” said Radcliffe, who hopes that the Kip Keino Classic will be upgraded to Diamond League status soon.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe had expressed his wish for Africa to host the 2025 World Athletics Championships. Only Kenya has bid to host the competition in the continent as South Africa, Nigeria, Morocco and Egypt failed.

Poland, Singapore and Japan are also in the running to host the championships, whose host will be announced March next year.  

“At this moment we are coming out of the pandemic, the most important thing is that we are able to hold championships.

“The sport has to get back noting that there is a generation that lost the entire junior career after the World Under-20 competition was moved from last year to this year owing to Covid-19,” explained Radcliffe”, adding that athletes missing that special part of their career when they are at their peak hits them hard.

While the changes in Diamond League were geared towards getting or captivating the audience, Radcliffe noted that there was need to understand where these events would have been suitable rather than omit them from prime time.

“For instance if you have Oslo, you put long distance races there because you will have the Ingebrigtsen brothers of Jakob and Filip participating.

“When you come to Monaco, people will remember it’s a place where Joshua Cheptegei and Beatrice Chepkoech set the 5,000m and 3,000m world records respectively,” said Radcliffe.

“People would want to watch those races hence you have to cater for the audience and the athletes. Every event is unique.”

Rabat, Morocco is the only venue in Africa that hosts Diamond League.

The 10,000m, 5,000m, 3,000m steeplechase and 200m alongside discus and triple jump were cut from Diamond League.

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