What you need to know:
- The Kip Keino Classic, which is the last of the seven rounds in this year’s World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meetings has attracted athletes from 30 nations.
- Coe noted that Kenya had become one of our most prominent member countries in athletics due to its extraordinary talent pool.
World Athletics President Sebastian Coe expects a highly competitive and thrilling Kip Keino Classic on Saturday at the Nyayo National Stadium to wrap up what has been a challenging year for sports.
The Kip Keino Classic, which is the last of the seven rounds in this year’s World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meetings has attracted athletes from 30 nations.
“We have had six Continental Tour Gold meetings over the last two months, which have produced a range of marvellous performances,” Coe said in his message published in the Kip Keino Classic meet programme seen by Nation Sport.
“I expect no less from the Kip Keino Classic.”
Coe, who paid tribute to Continental Tour meeting directors for having delivered successful events in very difficult circumstances, explained that it’s always pleasing to see a new top-class one-day meeting appear on the global calendar.
Contribution of African athletes
“Despite the immense and unexpected challenges of a year in which the coronavirus pandemic turned the world upside down, the continental tour has been a great success for our sport in creating competition opportunities at a time when many athletes feared they would not be able to compete at all,” said the athletics boss.
Coe noted that Kenya had become one of our most prominent member countries in athletics due to its extraordinary talent pool adding that many of the country’s exceptional athletes will be on display in what is expected to become an annual event.
Coe noted that it’s important for World Athletics to establish at least one top-class, annual one-day meeting in Africa to acknowledge the contribution that African athletes make to the sport.
“We want to give those who may not be able to travel more widely, an opportunity for world-class competition close to home,” explained Coe.
As it stands, Coe noted that African countries will be widely represented in this year’s event that has drawn athletes from all five of the other continental areas in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Oceania.
Coe said Kenya will again take centre stage next year when the postponed World Under-20 Championships are held from August 17 to 22 at the Moi International Sports Centre, just a week after the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Coe said that the world is looking forward to the best young athletes gathering in Kenya for the first time in three years, particularly after a highly-successful World Under-18 Championships that were held at the same venue in 2017, attracting 60,000 spectators on the final two days.
“We know that the Kenyan fans are passionate about our sport and will create a great atmosphere for the athletes at both the Kip Keino Classic and next year,” said Coe, who hopes that athletes competing in Nairobi will have the opportunity to end their international outdoor season on a high.