Dejected and forgotten: Kipchoge Keino stadium stands out like a sore thump

Monday May 18 2020

A view of Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu County on May 18, 2020. Construction of the sports facility stalled in 2017. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, is an eyesore after renovation of the facility stalled in 2017.

A visit by the Nation Sport team revealed a sorry state. The project has been abandoned since 2017 when the second phase of renovations started. There is no word from the Ministry of Sports.

The grass is overgrown in the stadium and it’s overrun by weeds. The toilets are in pathetic condition and so is the drainage system. Work at the eastern wing and at the VIP pavilion stalled at the foundation level. That is the image that welcomes one to the stadium.

Efforts by Nation Sport to contact Sports Kenya Chairman Fred Muteti proved futile. His line was not going through and he had not replied any of our text messages by the time of going to press.

The 2016 400 metres hurdles bronze medallist Haron Koech has asked the government to finish work at the stadium. He said it is an important training facility for sprinters.

He told Nation Sport that the stadium cannot be used in that state and it’s dangerous especially now that it’s raining.

“The stadium has taken long to complete. I would like the government, through the Ministry of Sports, to know that the facility will be of good use especially for the sprinters once complete,” Koech said.

Koech, a member of Kenya’s gold medal-winning 4x400m relay team at 2018 African Championships in Asaba, Nigeria, has shifted his training base from Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani to the North Rift. He trains in Eldoret and Iten.

Athletics Kenya had asked the government to complete the stadium in honour of the late 2015 World 400m hurdles champion Nicholas Bett who died in a road accident in 2018.

According to the 2020 Athletics Kenya calendar, Olympic Games trials should have been held at the stadium to select a team that would have represented Kenya at the Summer Games. However, the Games were pushed to next year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Olympic trials held at Kipchoge Stadium are referred to as mini-Olympics because the region is home to world-beating athletes.

The first AK track and field build-up competition that was expected to be held on February 22-23 at Kipchoge Keino Stadium was shifted to University of Eldoret. Kipchoge Keino Stadium was deemed too risky for competitors and fans.

In 2016, the same stadium hosted the Rio Olympic Games qualifiers and the facility was filled to the brim.

Owing to the state of Kipchoge Stadium, athletes were forced train at already overcrowded University of Eldoret murram track and Moi University-Annex Campus before the government banned gatherings.

Athletes from the neighbouring Elgeyo Marakwet County are also suffering after trenches were dug and left open at the Kamariny Stadium since 2017 to date. Athletes are now training along the roads, rendering their speed sessions ineffective because of bad roads that slow them down.