•“Olympic 100m silver medallist, United States’ Fred Kerley will once again grace the event where he will face our own, Ferdinand Omanyala. That shows top athletes want to be associated with Kip Keino Classic,” —Tuwei.
•Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed recalled the growth the event has made in the past three years.“We were bidding against powerhouses like the United States and South Africa.
ATHLETICS Kenya president Jack Tuwei says the fact that more elite runners are registering for this year’s Kip Keino Classic is enough evidence the event has grown in leaps and bounds in the past three years.
Olympic 100m silver medalist Fred Kerley of the United States, three-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica and Olympic 200m silver medalist Kenneth Bednarek are among big international names who will be landing in Nairobi for the third edition of the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold event on May 7 at Moi Stadium, Kasarani.
“Olympic 100m silver medallist, United States’ Fred Kerley will once again grace the event where he will face our own, Ferdinand Omanyala. That shows top athletes want to be associated with Kip Keino Classic,” Tuwei said.
He further promised fans mouth-watering clashes in Nairobi as athletes go head-to-head to try and build momentum for the upcoming international assignments.
“We must be proud that this year we have more international athletes registering for the competition. It is going to be a great day for us. We have, for example, Kerley coming up against Bednarek and of course, joined by Omanyala. We have Fraser-Pryce against Namibian Christine Mboma (Olympic 200m silver medalist and World Under 20 Champion,” he said.
Other tussles expected at the Kasarani battleground include the men’s hammer throw where Olympic champion Wojciech Nowicki will be hoping to revenge last year’s loss to fellow Pole, Olympic bronze medalist, Pawel Fajdek.
Closer home, world 800m champion Hellen Nakaayi of Uganda will be seeking redemption from last year when she lost to homegirl Mary Moraa.
Her fellow countrywoman, Olympic 3000m steeplechase champion Peruth Chemutai, will also face a strong Kenyan contingent keen to utilize their home advantage in search for glory.
Tuwei was speaking on Friday morning during the media launch of the annual event at Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi.
This year’s edition, the final of three-leg series, will be the first to allow fans to enter the stadium after the previous two were held behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at the same function, Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed recalled the growth the event has made in the past three years.“We were bidding against powerhouses like the United States and South Africa.
"We put in a powerful bid... and faster than anybody else. This confirmed Kenya as a sporting destination and showed our interest and enthusiasm for hosting the event,” Amina said.
She expressed optimism this year’s edition will be bigger and better and promised the support of the government to make it a memorable event.“Last year, due to Covid-19, we had many athletes shunning international competitions.
Nairobi was an exception because of the measures put in place for Covid19 protocols. This time will be no different,” the CS said.Absa Bank will return as this year’s lead sponsor, pumping in Sh23 million into the event.
The bank’s Ceo, Jeremy Awori, described his delight at being part of the weekend meeting, once again.
“It's always an honour to be associated with Kip Keino Classic. We are happy to partner with AK and the Ministry of Sports to bring this event to the shores of Kenya. When you think about athletics, no matter where you are in the world, people will come up with either Jamaica or Kenya,” Awori said.
He added: “Athletics has put Kenya on the world map in ways unimaginable long ago.”