•Kibet said the presence of fans at the one-day weekend meet will inspire him and many other Kenyan athletes
•The national 800m champion is preparing for the Senior Africa Athletics Championships
•The first two editions of the Kip Keino Classic were held behind closed doors
World Under 20 800m bronze medalist Noah Kibet has welcomed fans to Moi Stadium, Kasarani for Saturday's Kip Keino Classic, promising them a great performance.
Kibet said the presence of fans at the one-day World Continental Tour Gold meeting will inspire him and many other Kenyan athletes to greatness in their respective races.
"The last time this event was held, we were in the thick of the Covid-19 pandemic and so the fans could not attend in their numbers. This time the government has allowed people to come and watch. We need you to come and fill all these seats on Saturday," the World Indoor 800m silver medalist said.
Kibet added: "I know we are a country that loves athletics and it was quite unfortunate that coronavirus forced many events to be held behind closed doors. All in all, we thank God and will be happy to run in front of a huge, home crowd."
He was in great form at last week's Athletics Kenya national championships, timing 1:46.75 to win the men's 800m as Nicholas Kebenei (1:47.22) and Elias Ngeny (1:47.47) finished second and third respectively.
At Kip Keino Classic, he will more or less face off with most of those he beat at the same stadium to win the national title to earn his ticket to the Senior Africa Athletics Championships in Reduit, Mauritius next month.
They include Kebenei, world indoor specialist Collins Kipruto and 2019 All Africa Games 800m silver medalist Cornelius Tuwei.
Also in the mix are Olympic 800m silver medalist Ferguson Rotich, World Under 20 champion Emmanuel Wanyonyi and World 1500m champion Timothy Cheruiyot as well as Abedin Mujezinovic and Bodena Tolesa Asho of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Ethiopia respectively.
Despite the challenge posed by these big names, the 17-year-old is optimistic about emerging victorious for the second time in two weeks.
"I am preparing for the African Championships and also to fight for a ticket to the World Championships so Kip Keino will be a great stop before heading for these other competitions. There are some areas of my running I need to work on and so I will be looking to compete at Kasarani to better myself," Kibet said.
Another athlete looking forward to running in front of the home crowd is Cheruiyot.
The Olympic 1500m silver medalist likewise promised Kenyans a wonderful time on Saturday.
"It will be interesting...it will be fun. Come and join us on Saturday at Kasarani for a classic race. We are looking forward to seeing you all," he said.
He will be keen on making up for his disappointing performance at the national championships where he fell outside of the podium places.