Organisers of this year’s national cross country championships cum national cross country trials in Eldoret want the event to held in the afternoon this time round.
Athletics Kenya (AK) Central Rift chairman, Abraham Mutai said they want to shift from the usual morning competition when it comes to cross-country meetings.
“As organisers, we want to host the national event in the evening. We want to break away from the jinx of hosting the championships in the morning because all the IAAF Cross country meetings are held in the evening,” he said.
He said the move by AK to devolve the sport was encouraging and called on fans to turn up in large numbers and enjoy the competitions. “Athletics has come back to their owners and I would like to urge parents from this region to turn up in large numbers and watch their sons and daughters compete on the home soil,” he noted.
“We want fans to throng Eldoret Sports Club hence the reason why we want the event staged in the evening. If we host this event in the morning, we will have few fans coming to watch. We want to allow people to work on their farms in the morning and attend to their daily chores and spare time to watch athletics in the evening—probably from 3pm to 5pm,” added Mutai, who is the Local Organising Committee chairman.
Mutai said the sponsors of the event have been losing out in showcasing their brands because of the short hours allocated to them.
“Sponsors play a critical role in ensuring a success of the event and we are proposing that we have the event in the evening to ensure they get value for their money. If they are given the whole morning, afternoon and partially evening, they will have a reason to come back for more partnership next time,” he insisted.
He said they have organised entertainment for the fans who will arrive early. “We are welcoming local musicians to entertain our fans and all that shall be done in the morning before the championships begins at 3pm.”
The national event will be used to pick a team to the World Cross Country Championships in March Aarhus, Denmark. This is the first time the event is being hosted away from capital Nairobi.