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AK stunned by huge crowds

Saturday July 31 2010

Kenya's Vivian Cheruiyot, in a lap of honour, appreciate applause from the crowd after winning 5000 metres women finals during 17th CAA Safaricom Senior Africa Athletics Championship at Nyayo Stadium. Photo/CHRIS OMOLLO

Kenya's Vivian Cheruiyot, in a lap of honour, appreciate applause from the crowd after winning 5000 metres women finals during 17th CAA Safaricom Senior Africa Athletics Championship at Nyayo Stadium. Photo/CHRIS OMOLLO  

By AYUMBA AYODI

The massive turnout at the 2008 championships in Addis Ababa left Athletics Kenya worried about at the Nairobi event.

This was owing to the fact that despite Kenya being a force to reckon with in the world of athletics, the national championships had witnessed low turnout in terms of crowd.

A well calculated mechanism was then put in place to drum up publicity for the championship and in the end the turnout since the races started on Wednesday has been overwhelming.

By around 2pm on Saturday, the 30-0000-seater Nyayo National Stadium was full to capacity, forcing the organisers to close all the doors to the arena as a security precaution.

The free sitting area that had 28,000 seats and the VIP zone that attracted a daily entry fee of Sh 300 and season ticket of Sh 1,000, were all full to capacity.

Hundreds of people even those with the VIP tickets were turned away, as resorted to viewing action from the mobile telephones.

Security officers, some on horse, kept the frustrated fans, who wanted to forcefully gain entry, at bay.

“I think there should have been some organisation because VIP tickets are exact and I don’t know why I am not allowed in,” said a Nairobi business man Mwangi Kimani.

“I have three season VIP tickets here but we can’t go in with my family. We need to come early tomorrow” “They need to set up large screens outside the stadium for those who won’t find space in,” said Mercy Mwenda.

Local Organising Committee (LOC) chief executive officer, David Okeyo acknowledged that the turnout has been overwhelming.

“We are lost for words but we had to lock the gates as a precaution measure. We don’t want a stampede or accidents of any kind.

“This is a 30,000 seater and we can’t allow more than that,” said Okeyo.

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