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Big crowds prompt revival of Tusker Athletics meeting

Monday August 2 2010

African Athletics Confederation (CAA) President Hamad Kalkaba Malboum addressing the press with 17the CAA Safaricom Senior Africa Athletics Championship Local Organising Committee Chairman Isaiah Kiplagat (right) and Chief Executive Officer David Okeyo (left) at Nyayo Stadium. Photo/CHRIS OMOLLO

African Athletics Confederation (CAA) President Hamad Kalkaba Malboum addressing the press with 17the CAA Safaricom Senior Africa Athletics Championship Local Organising Committee Chairman Isaiah Kiplagat (right) and Chief Executive Officer David Okeyo (left) at Nyayo Stadium. Photo/CHRIS OMOLLO  

By CHRIS MUSUMBA

The Tusker Athletics Meet, a one day track and field competition, will be revived from next year as Athletics Kenya seeks to capitalise on the enthusiasm shown by huge crowds which turned out to watch the Africa Athletics Championships.

Chairman Isaiah Kiplagat however, was cautious saying the event still demand huge sponsorship if they are to lure the elite athletes worldwide.

East Africa Breweries Limited was the inaugural sponsor pumping in Sh15 million and following their withdrawal, AK has found it hard to get a replacement.

One-day meeting

The announcement was endorsed by Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) President Hamad Malboum Kalkaba who pledged to place the meet under the continent’s premier one day meetings to form the Africa Golden series.

Rabat, Dakar, Khartoum, Brazzaville and Mauritius are the other cities that the Africa Golden series is held.

“We have not staged the race for the last two years because of funds. But with the success this championship has returned, hopefully we will be back from next year,” said Kiplagat.

With over 600 foreign athletes from 47 countries competing at Nyayo national Stadium, Kenya returned a positive mark on organisation and standard of equipment making the CAA to consider Nairobi for continent’s golden series.

“We already have Dakar and Rabat as some of the top African one day meeting. I believe Nairobi and one in South Africa can be added on this list so that we can have a full circuit,” said Kalkaba.

Revive the meeting

Kalkaba, confirmed he has already spoken with both Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga and athletics officials in helping revive the meeting, which he said will go well with the success the country has had in track and field competition.

Kiplagat also confirmed that Kenya has been spurred by the great turnout of fans to embrace the championship and will seek the government approval before seeking to bid to host the 2014/2016 World Junior Championship or the World Youth Championship.

“These are events that do not require a lot of logistics. Kenya after this success can look up and seek IAAF approval to stage such competitions. But the world Championship for the elite athletes is still far away,” said Kiplagat.

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