The government has finally started walking the talk after reviving the construction of the stalled Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, and Iten’s Kamariny Stadium in Elgeyo Marakwet.
Nation Sport has been running a series of stories on the sorry state of the stadiums in Kenya with sportspeople unanimous that the venues need to be on the list of priorities for the Jubilee government, even as the fight against the coronavirus remains key.
In January last year, sacked Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa toured the two stadiums and held talks with the contractors.
Echesa said the ministry had finalised payments, although there was no equipment and machinery on site.
Two weeks ago, Sports CS Amina Mohamed also toured Kipchoge Keino and Kamariny stadiums and assured that the projects will resume once the contractor has been paid.
And on Saturday, Sports Chief Administrative Secretary Hassan Noor Hassan was among top government officials who visited both facilities raising hopes of the facilities, which are important for training and hosting competitions, being completed as promised.
OLYMPIC GAMES TRIALS
Noor kicked off his tour at the Kipchoge Keino Stadium where he said there is a memorandum between the ministry and the contractor to begin works immediately and finish within the agreed time.
“We are here to assure the contractor that he will be paid in the few coming days after the certificates he presented are cleared.
“I would like to urge him to mobilise his team and start work immediately so that he can meet the deadline,” he said.
The only contractor on site, Shiv Construction, is building the VIP pavilion.
Noor said discussions are underway for other contractors to return once work begins. He promised Athletics Kenya that Kipchoge Stadium would be ready to host the Olympic trials.
The Summer Games that were scheduled to being in Tokyo, Japan next month were postponed to next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Let AK and athletes in general be assured that the facility will be ready for use in six months and they can host the Olympics Games trials comfortably in the facility. We will push the contractor to even finish work in less than six months,” Noor added.
Previously, the stadium has hosted the national trials for the 2016 Olympic Games which attracted a large crowd that filled the stadium to the brim. Thereafter, the stadium was demolished to pave the way for expansion.
At Kamariny Stadium, Funan Construction workers were busy at work after the project stalled in 2017 for lack of funds.
When Nation Sport went to the stadium, we found work on the drainage in progress and grass was being cleared on the pitch. Noor said the region has produced world beaters and the government is working hard to make sure that the athletes get a quality training ground.
“The long-standing issue of the incomplete Kamariny Stadium will be something of the past because we have reliable funding and in the next four months we shall be completing the project.
SHORTEST TIME POSSIBLE
“The national government is concerned about the project and soon athletes will be smiling because of good facilities,” the CAS said.
Noor said athletes from the region have always made the country proud at major championships. He said President Uhuru Kenyatta wants the facilities to be completed and ready for use in the shortest time possible.
“The President in his wisdom has directed that funding for the stadiums be sourced from the National Sports Fund. I want to assure the contractor that funds will be available and we are going to test his capability once the funds are available,” he added.
Elgeyo-Marakwet Sports Chief Executive Committee Anita Kimwatan said the county government is keen on completing the project.