Preparation for second edition of Kip Keino Classic complete while Absa come on board
Absa Kenya was yesterday unveiled as title sponsor of the second edition of Kipkeino Classic Continental Tour meet set for Kasarani Stadium on Saturday.
Athletics Kenya (AK) president Jackson Tuwei speaking during the function disclosed that the event would be held behind closed doors and defended the decision to move it from Nyayo Stadium to Kasarani, saying organisers intend to give the athletes the best facilities currently available in the country.
Yesterday during a media launch in Nairobi, Absa sponsored the event to a tune of Sh 20 million with CEO Jeremy Awori saying the institution is glad to be associated with athletics.
“We are excited to play a role as title sponsors in this year’s event. The event gives us an opportunity to stamp our authority as the home of Champions.
We at Absa are passionate about sports because we understand the important role it plays in our society,” said Awori.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, who joined the launch virtually, urged all the stakeholders to maintain the high standards that have been set.
“This is a big event for us. We are grateful for everyone who has been supportive to us as we host major events in our country.
Since this is our second year running we also hope to host Diamond League series in the future,” said Mohammed.
Tuwei said because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the event will be staged behind closed doors. He encouraged the athletics fans to follow the event through various media outlets in the country.
“Because of our own security and safety I want to urge the passionate fans to embrace technology and watch the event from wherever they are, be it on television or social media pages, we can still follow proceedings live,” said Tuwei.
With over 265 athletes confirmed, Meet Director Barnaba Korir said there will be nine core events during the championships; men and women’s hammer throw, men’s pole vault, women’s long jump, men’s 100m, men and women’s 200m and men and women’s 3,000m steeplechase.
The men and women’s 5,000m, men and women’s 1,500m, men and women’s 800m and men’s javelin throw will fall under the discretionary events.
“The men’s 1,500m and women’s 5,000m will be the only discretionary races that will be televised alongside the core races in the official program that gets underway at 4pm,” he said.
The event has attracted global stars with Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco being the first athlete to arrive in the country on Saturday.
More arrivals are expected this week including three-time world champion Justin Gatlin of the US and his compatriot Trayvon Bromell- the fastest man this year over the 100m.
Others are; Olympic 3,000m steeplechase champion Peruth Chemutai (Uganda), Olympic hammer throw champion Wojciech Nowicki (Poland) and Olympic 200m silver medallist Christine Mboma (Namibia).
Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon leads home-grown talent that will light up Kasarani Stadium on Saturday.
Meanwhile World Under-20 champions Vincent Keter, Purity Chepkirui, Teresiah Muthoni and Benson Kiplangat are the some of the junior athletes that will grace the KipKeino Classic on Saturday.
Keter and Kirui won the men’s and women’s 1,500m titles with Kiplangat and Muthoni claiming the 5,000m titles during the World Under-20 Athletics Championships held July 18-22 at Kasarani Stadium.
Keter saying he is eyeing a good outing on Saturday just as he did last month during the junior Championships.
“It has been a good season for me generally. I have achieved most of the targets I had set my eyes on.
For the final event of the season, I want to have fun and see how it goes, though it will be nicer if I make to the podium,” said Keter who was one of the athletes that graced the launch.