The Nairobi leg of the World Athletics Continental Tour due September 26 has been named the “Kip Keino Classic.”
At the same time, Sports Kenya has described the Nyayo National Stadium as an ideal venue for the “Kip Keino Classic” and is now pushing for a new and modern tartan track to be laid at the 30,000-seater arena.
Nairobi race director Barnaba Korir disclosed that besides the main event being named after legendary former athlete Kipchoge Keino, the 10,000m during the event will be known as the “Naftali Temu 10,000m Classic.”
Kipchoge won gold in 1,5000m at the 1968 Mexico Olympics before claiming victory in 3,000m steeplechase at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.
Temu won the first and last Kenya’s 10,000m title at the Olympics during the 1968 Mexico Summer Games. Kipchoge, Temu and Amos Biwott (3,000m, steeplechase) are the first Kenyan to win gold at the Olympics from the 1968 Mexico Games.
“Kipchoge is the father of Kenyan athletics and the world knows him more than any Kenyan in athletics,” said Korir adding that naming the 10,000 at the meeting after legendary Temu will inspire Kenyan athletes to go for the Olympic title come the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games next year.
The World Athletics Continental Tour was formed by World Athletics last year as the second tier of international one-day meetings after the Diamond League.
The Tour will feature mostly events that have been removed from Diamond League prime time starting from the inaugural 2020 season. They are 10,000, 5,000, 200m, 3000m steeplechase, discus, hammer and triple jump.
The Continental Tour that has 10 events is divided into three levels – Gold, Silver and Bronze – whose status will be determined by the quality of competition and prize money.
Korir said preparations are in top gear with the Local Organising Committee meeting Friday every week besides the formation of different sub-committees in marketing and media among others.
Sports Kenya Director General, Pius Metto said that renovations work at the Nyayo National Stadium and the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani are ongoing and the two venues will be ready before the continental tour.
“Discussions have been going on on the possible venue for the tour but everyone has settled on Nyayo,” said Metto adding that discussions are going on with the Ministry of Public Works and Sports Fund in view of securing a new tartan track at Nyayo.
“If we are to complete the discussions in the next one week and a procurement process is done then it will take not more than two months to have a new track in place,” said Metto.
Metto noted that for the purpose of quality and to avoid the shoddy work that was done on the current track that is in poor state, they will engage Mondo, the premiere sport, gymnasium, Olympic and artificial turf flooring company. “They have been the ones doing most of the tracks for World Athletics.”
Metto explained that they also look forward to improving the lighting system at the Nyayo National Stadium. “The current system is suitable for football and not athletics. It only lights up the pitch and not the track,” said Metto. “That is something the ministry of public works is on it.”