Kipchoge Stadium in Kapsabet town, Nandi County, is taking shape following intervention by the county government.
The stadium, in the heart of Kapsabet town, was named after legendary athlete Kipchoge Keino who brought glory to the country in late 1960’s and 70’s.
Following decades of neglect, Kipchoge Stadium finally got a facelift following an initial plan of injecting Sh800 million by the previous Nandi County Government administration.
The works include construction of an ultra-modern arena with a 30,000-seater capacity.
The stadium was designed to provide international standard sports facilities that will include a modern football pitch, a synthetic track, and state-of-the-art indoor gymnasium and hotels.
A visit to the stadium shows that there is some work on-going, but at a slow pace, with the County Executive Committee in charge of Sports, Youth Affairs and Arts, Elly Kurgat, saying the facility will be ready for use in January, 2020.
The works have so far consumed Sh120 million with the current county government allocating Sh40 million for the laying of the synthetic track.
The stadium has a VIP pavilion with a capacity of 2,000 conference rooms, changing rooms, good drainage with grass on the pitch done and a permanent perimeter wall. The track has been tarmacked and awaiting the laying of the synthetic track which the county is in the process of procuring.
Next to the stadium is “Swahili village”, a residential area which is to be relocated to another land acquired by the county to give room for expansion of the stadium.
“This year the county government has allocated Sh40 million for the laying of a tartan track which shall be an IAAF standard track. We expect to get the facility ready by January as we look forward to hosting the Term One national school games where the stadium will be of good use.”
“We have a village next to the stadium and the County Government has acquired another piece of land for relocation so that we can have enough space to expand in the next phase,” said Kurgat who was accompanied by Chief Officer of Sports Kennedy Tanui, who is also the Central Rift Athletics Kenya secretary.
The second phase consists of additional terraces, warm-up track, parking and lighting of the stadium.
The county’s sports executive also said that the national government is providing technical support in terms of laying of the track and they will also re-design the terraces.
Kurgat also said that they are building alternative tracks that will be used by the athletes with Kipchoge preserved for major events.
About 200 metres from the stadium is the Eliud Kipchoge Training Complex whose phase one is almost complete and is being built by the county government at a cost of Sh150 million.
The construction of the complex started after Eliud Kipchoge broke the marathon world record in Berlin Marathon last year, clocking two hours, one minute and 39 seconds.
The county government celebrated the feat by building the complex named after him.
The one-year-old facility has its phase one works 95 percent complete. Phase one consists of athlete’s lounge, conference room, modern gym, VIP area at the roof top and media centre providing a vantage view of the track.
Phase two will consist of accommodation and training grounds, modern swimming pool, physiotherapy rooms and a restaurant which the works has already started. Kurgat said that apart from targeting career development, the 200-bed capacity complex will be used by athletes preparing for major events as one way of getting revenue for the county government.
Athletes have been using roads in tea plantations in Nandi Hills for speed sessions while others have to travel about 15 kilometres to the University of East Africa, Baraton, from Kapsabet.
Kapsabet, known as “the source of champions” has produced a number of legendary athletes, from Kipchoge Keino in the 1960s, to Henry Rono in the 70s and now, Eliud Kipchoge.
Coming tomorrow: A look at Uasin Gishu County stadiums.