A new stadium will be constructed in Nyeri as part of a multi-billion pledge by the government to build sporting facilities across Kenya.
It will be put up at Ruring’u Stadium, a ground that was used by legendary athletes Kipchoge Keino and Catherine Ndereba but which has since become dilapidated.
It will be the first stadium to meet international standards in the central region.
During an assessment of the stadium Monday, Sports Kenya acting Director-General Gabriel Komora said the agency would work with the county government to draw up plans for the new stadium.
“This is a high altitude area that has produced athletes and the potential for sports to grow is huge. We just need to agree with the county government on a few matters,” he said.
The stadium has been the subject of an ownership row between the county government and the Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK).
County Secretary Alice Wachira Monday said ASK would be given a 120-acre piece of land in Kabiruini from where it will be hosting its annual fairs.
“We expect the change of ownership to be complete by the end of next month,” Ms Wachira, who was accompanied the Sports Stadia officials on a tour of Ruring’u, said.
Her sentiments were echoed by ASK Central Chairman John Kibira.
Ms Wachira said the county would work with Sports Kenya to attract other investors like hotels once the deal on the stadium is finalised.
The government has pledged to build five international stadiums across the country, including in Mombasa, Nairobi and Eldoret.
Mr Komora said Sports Kenya had rehabilitated three stadiums across the country at a cost of Sh280 million.
More than Sh200 million has been used in Eldoret, Sh50 million for repairing Mombasa Stadium and Sh30 million for a facelift of the Kisumu Stadium.
He added that plans were underway to build a 40,000 seater stadium on Ngong Road, Nairobi for rugby players.
COLLABORATE WITH COUNTY GOVTS
“We are seeking collaboration with regional governments to put up infrastructure,” Mr Komora said though he did not give a timeline in which the stadium would be complete.
In its heydays, Ruring’u used to be a magnet for local and international athletes due to its strategic location.
Because of years of neglect, Athletics Kenya delisted the stadium from approved grounds in 2010.
Last week, athletes suspended training at Ruring’u Stadium over its poor state.
The runners blame ASK for allowing driving schools and boda boda riders to train inside the stadium.
This has left tyre and bumpy skid marks everywhere.