Long before our world-beating athletes made international headlines, Kenya was already famous in global sport, thanks to the Safari Rally.
Started in 1953 as the East African Coronation Safari Rally to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s ascent to the British throne, the Safari Rally quickly developed into the most difficult yet quite popular round of the World Rally Championship (WRC).
But cash flow and other organisational problems saw the famous race withdrawn from the WRC calendar in 2003, much to the chagrin of motorsport enthusiasts.
However, the government and Kenya Motorsports Federation (KMSF) have launched an aggressive bid to have the rally back onto the global racing calendar by 2020, with Sh250 million voted to drive this project.
A WRC Safari Rally Project team was gazetted in November by the Sports Cabinet Secretary.
That we successfully hosted the IAAF World Under-18 Athletics Championships in Nairobi last July was proof that Kenya can organise global competitions.
That is why we must rally behind the team headed by KMSF chairman Phineas Kimathi to see the Safari Rally back onto the WRC roster by 2020. This will also market Kenya’s sports and tourism potential.