World Athletics Friday announced Nairobi will host the first meeting of the inaugural Continental Tour.
The Continental Tour -- a series of the world's best one-day meetings outside the Diamond League -- will start on May 2 in Nairobi, and conclude on September 15 in Zagreb, Croatia.
Kenya’s Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed was in Monaco last November drumming up support for Nairobi to be given the 10th slot on the tour.
Kenya beat South Africa and USA who had shown interest in hosting the meeting in Pretoria and Oregon respectively.
World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said the impetus for creating the Continental Tour was to provide more competition and earning opportunities for more athletes.
“Between the Wanda Diamond League and the Continental Tour all disciplines will be catered for and many more athletes will have access to top class competition," he said.
Fittingly, given the tradition of African distance runners, Nairobi will stage the 3,000m steeplechase, 5,000m and 10,000m for men and women at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, as part of its programme. This is expected to be the highest quality senior international meeting to be held in Kenya’s history.
The recent development could also be construed as a vote of confidence for Kenya as World Athletics' preferred destination for big athletics events in Africa with Nairobi having successfully staged the World Under-18 Championships in 2017. This year, Kenya will host the World Under-20 Championships from July 7 to 12.
For the 2020 season's core disciplines -- the 200m, 3000m steeplechase, triple jump, discus throw and hammer throw for both men and women -- the ranking points will be allotted at the same level as the Diamond League.
Wildcard entry to the 2021 World Championships will also be on offer for the best athletes in the core disciplines.
Comprising meetings from around the world, the Continental Tour will be divided into three levels – Gold, Silver and Bronze – whose status will be determined by the quality of competition and prize money on offer.
A total prize money purse of at least Sh21 million ($200,000) will be offered for each Gold meeting as well as significant World Ranking points.
Additional reporting by World Athletics