Batch of foreign athletes expected as officials do polishing ahead of Kip Keino Classic
Foreign athletes set to compete at the Kip Keino Classic, the seventh and final leg in the inaugural World Athletics Continental Tour Gold Series set for Saturday at the refurbished Nyayo Stadium, started jetting in on Mondaywith the majority set to arrive today ahead of the global competition.
The event has attracted athletes from over 30 countries, with more than 150 already confirmed for the meet, which is the only event, in the series, to be held in Africa.
To ensure their safety and that of others, the athletes will be subjected to safety protocols as required by the Ministry of Health and World Athletics to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Athletics Kenya (AK) used athletes’ rankings from last year’s World Championship, Africa Games and national championship to select the country’s representatives for the one-day event.
The day’s events are categorized into three, including the core events, discretionary and national events.
The 200m, hammer, triple jump and 3000m steeplechase are set to run from 4pm as the core events even as action begins at 8am with the national category of events.
Discretionary events include 400m, 800m, 1500m, 5000m and javelin throw for men.
Any record set during the event will be recognised by World Athletics who have sent two technical officials to ratify the standard of Nyayo.
Additionally only 6000 tickets will be sold for fans to access the stadium as only 20 percent of the stadium’s capacity can be allowed in for ease of adherence to Covid-19 guidelines.
“I can confirm that any record set during the continental tour will be given due recognition as the technical officials from Germany have confirmed that the facility is of the required technical standards,” confirmed AK chair Jackson Tuwei during the facility’s reopening ceremony on Saturday.
Fresh from an outstanding performance in the sixth and the final leg of the Wanda Diamond League, World 5000m champion Hellen Obiri will lead the Kenyan contingent in their attempt to dominate on home soil.
The provisional list also has world silver medalist Margaret Chelimo in the 5,000m race.
Other female athletes expected to light up the day include World junior champion Celliphine Chespol who will be making her first appearance of the season in the steeplechase event.
Eunice Kadogo, Mary Moraa , Mercy Cherono have also made the list.
Meanwhile, World 10,000m bronze medalist Rhonex Kipruto is hoping to break the jinx and wrestle the 5000m title from neighbours Ethiopia as he leads compatriots Jacob Krop and Nicholas Kimeli in the race.
They will be up against Ethiopian World 5,000m silver medalist Selemon Barega among others.
World 3,000m steeplechase champion Conseslus Kipruto will take on, among others, last month’s Monaco Diamond League winner El Bakkali.
World Under-20 3000m steeplechase silver medalist Leonard Bett and Abraham Kibiwott will also line up for the race.
In the 200m race, national record holder Mike Mokamba and Peter Mwai will take on Cisse Aurthur of Ivory Coast, Rodgers Mike of USA and Dambile Sinesipho of South Africa.
World 1,500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot has also been confirmed alongside compatriots Boaz Kiprugut, Timothy Sein, Charles Simotwo, and Edwin Melly among others.
Meanwhile Lennert Aldelhof, Dimitri Stroobants, Marc Corstjens and Marek Plwago of Belgium and Eddy Stevens of Poland, organisers of the AG Memorial Van Damme Diamond League meeting in Brussels are in the country.
They join their counterparts Steffi Brachmann and Armin Reepschlager both from Germany who arrived in the country last week while Bob Verbeeck of Belgium is also expected in the country today.
“We are here to share our experience of track and field with the local team because we want to set up a magnificent event on Saturday,” said Stroobants who is an event organiser and specialises in stadia management. He further added that he is expecting a lively contest with the facility cleared to open its doors to some 6000 fans amid Covid-19 pandemic.
“In Brussels Diamond League we did not have fans and had to create an extra sound of spectators.
Hopefully, with the number of fans we will be having then we will have enough noise in the stadium,” said Aldelhof.