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INEOS 1:59 Challenge Notebook

Saturday October 12 2019
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Deputy President William Ruto (right) shares a light moment with Kenyans during the INEOS 1:59 Challenge at Prater Park in Vienna, Austria on October 12, 2019. PHOTO | ELIAS MAKORI |

By ELIAS MAKORI

DP Ruto leads in support for Eliud

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Deputy President William Ruto led other dignitaries and hundreds of Kenyans in cheering Eliud Kipchoge at Prater Park here on Sunday. Ruto was accompanied by governors Stephen Sang (Nandi), Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu) and Kenya’s ambassador to Washington Njeru Githae and High Commissioner to London, Manoah Esipisu. “The environment here is carnival. I’ve seen many Kenyans from different parts of Europe and elsewhere. It is my belief that today is a day like no other,” Ruto said. “Kenya being a sporting nation and a great athletics giant, this moment is special.”

Mandago the cheerleader here

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Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago (above) moved the Kenyan crowd here with his cheerleading skills, leading hundreds of Kenyans along the Hauptallee Avenue in singing the national anthem and other patriotic songs. Mandago, himself a former athlete, said the national government needs to do more to improve sports facilities in the counties. “They should at least complete one major stadium, instead of putting many on hold,” Mandago said as he joined the Kenyan fans in chanting “wakenya msilale, bado mapambano.”

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Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago drums up support for Eliud Kipchoge during the INEOS 1:59 Challenge at Prater Park in Vienna, Austria on October 12, 2019. PHOTO | ELIAS MAKORI |

Great race, poor media operations

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Despite the impeccable run by Eliud Kipchoge here, the media facilities and operations set up by the event organisers were terrible, by international standards, and didn’t measure up to Kipchoge's lofty standards. Journalists were crammed into little space and Eliud Kipchoge’s press conference quite rushed. With the media centre’s operation hours listed to close at 6pm, officials from the media operations team stunned journalists by saying they had to close at 4pm as they had been up since 5am. Definitely a half-hearted approach for such a historic event.

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