Nairobi to host Continental Tour first leg

Saturday, January 25th, 2020 08:46 |
Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed. Photo/PD/PHILIP KAMAKYA

Nairobi will become the first African city to host the 2020 World Athletics Continental Tour (Gold level) following the finalisation of the full 10-meeting schedule on Friday.

And rightly fitting, given the tradition of African distance runners, Nairobi will stage the 3,000m-steeplechase, 5,000m and 10,000m for men and women as part of its programme. 

This is expected to be the highest quality senior international meeting to be held in Kenya’s history.

The pilot year of the $2 million (Sh200 million) Gold meeting series will now visit four continents, Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, with the first meeting at Nairobi’s Kasarani Stadium on 2 May, followed by Tokyo on May 10. The series will finish in Zagreb in September.

The choice of Nairobi is a major boost to sports tourism in the country as Kenya prepares to host the World Athletics Under 20 World Championships just weeks after the Continental Tour.

Both South America and Oceania will host Silver level meetings this year with a view to staging Gold level meetings in 2021.

With the completion of the Gold meeting schedule for 2020, World Athletics has also finalised the discipline breakdown for each meeting with a broad events spread to maximise competition opportunities for athletes in all disciplines and all parts of the world.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said the impetus for creating the Continental Tour was to provide more competition and earning opportunities for more athletes.

“Between the Diamond League and the Continental Tour, all disciplines will be catered for and many more athletes will have access to top class competition,’’ he said.

The Continental Tour will be divided into three levels, Gold, Silver and Bronze, whose status will be determined by the quality of competition and prize money on offer.

World Athletics is investing in the Gold level meetings, which will each offer $200,000 (Sh20 million) in prize money, to increase the number of high quality competitive opportunities available to showcase the sport’s best athletes.

Area associations will be responsible for managing the Silver, $75,000 (Sh7.5 million) in prize money, and Bronze level competitions, $25,000 (Sh2.5 million). There will be 10 Silver and up to 50 Bronze meetings.

Those disciplines that are not included in this year’s Diamond League final—200m, 3,000m steeplechase, triple jump and discus—will be core events in the Continental Tour Gold meetings, as will the hammer throw. 

Each will have a guaranteed prize money of $20,000 (Sh2 million) at each meeting.

Performances in those events will attract the same level of world ranking points as the core Diamond League disciplines, and the overall tour winners will receive wildcard entry to the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA in 2021.

Host broadcasters have been appointed for each meeting and Infront, the tour’s international TV rights holder, will sell the rights into markets around the world.              -JAMES MAGAYI

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