Kip Keino organisers target record turnout of African sprinters

Race director Barnaba Korir says the World Continental Tour event can enhance the level of competition in the country as well as on the continent

In Summary

•Race director Barnaba Korir says that over 12 nations competed at last year's edition

•He is hopeful the level of sprints competition in Africa can increase as more events are held

•The third edition of Kip Keino Classic will be held on May 7 at Nyayo Stadium

Ferdinand Omanyala leads in a past 100m race
Ferdinand Omanyala leads in a past 100m race

Organizers of this year’s Kip Keino Classic have called on many African sprinters to register for the third edition of the World Athletics Continental Tour event.  

Race director Barnaba Korir said a record number of sprinters at the one-day event set for May 7 at Nyayo Stadium, will boost competition in sprints on the continent and enhance Africans' chances at the World Championships and Commonwealth Games. 

“As a federation and a country, we want to invite many African nations and athletes to come and compete at the Continental Tour. This will foster the level of competition in the country and on the continent,” Korir said.

He said the one-day event — now in its third year — has grown so much in stature, noting that over 12 nations competed at last year's edition. 

“As organizers of such an event, we are always happy when the turnout is great. We had over twelve nations that competed at the event. The athletes were not only from Africa, we had great athletes from the USA among other nations of the world,” Korir said.

He added: "It was through such an event that Omanyala set the continental record where he beat some of the great athletes from around the globe. If we have events organized well, we will open many opportunities for sprints, which has not been well received in the country but is now changing."

Korir, who is also Athletics Kenya's director of youth development, pointed to the first leg of the Track and Field Weekend Meeting as evidence of the growth of sprints in the country. 

“It was one of the biggest races in the country, especially in the 100m. we had 17 heats by 8 lanes. That was a big number and that is the way to go...supporting young runners for bigger stages in their career,” he said. 

He further mentioned last weekend's Agnes Tirop Memorial World Cross Country Tour in Eldoret as a sign of better things to come in the year.