Sport

CS Amina: Kip Keino Classic fit for Diamond League

CS Amina: Kip Keino Classic fit for Diamond League

From left to right: Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei, World Under-20 Athletics Championships 1,500m champion Vincent Keter,  Absa Bank Kenya chief executive officer Jeremy Awori and National 800m champion Mary Moraa pose after the launch of this year's Kip Keino Classic at Ole Sereni Hotel on September 13, 2021.

Photo credit: Ayumba Ayodi | Nation Media Group

The Absa Kip Keino Classic is now ripe for Diamond League status, Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Amina Mohamed, declared Monday.

Amina said that Kenya had exhibited great professionalism and capacity to host major athletics events.

This year’s Absa Kip Keino Classic will be held on Saturday at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani and fans will not be allowed to attend once again.

“We shall have hosted the Kip Keino Classic for two years on Saturday with the third edition coming up next year.

“We will now start preparing to host it as a Diamond League after next year,” said a confident Amina, who hopes that World Athletics will elevate the event.

Amina was speaking via Zoom during the launch of this year’s Kip Keino Classic at Ole Sereni Hotel, Nairobi where Absa Bank Kenya came on board to sponsor the event to a tune of Sh20 million.

Amina was represented by policy advisor at the ministry, Gabriel Warigi during the launch of the World Athletics Continental Tour event.

Also present were Absa Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Awori, Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei and Kip Keino Tour director Barnaba Korir.

World Athletics Continental Tour, which is an annual series of track and field athletic competition, forms the second tier of international one-day meetings after the Diamond League. The inaugural season was in 2020.

World Athletics shortlisted Nairobi as one of the 12 events in the Gold Tour. The country was given the Continental status for three years before any other consideration.

Amina thanked President Uhuru Kenyatta, whom he hailed as the “Champion for Sports”, owing to his immense support not only for Kip Keino Classic, but to other major sporting events in the country.

“The President personally set up the Sports Fund to ensure that sporting activities are well supported and funded in the country. The success of the Kip Keino Classic is a clear manifestation,” said Amina.

With fans still not allowed at the stadium, Warigi said there is still a multi-ministerial engagement to see if fans can be allowed to the arena.

“It’s the same engagement that has allowed some sporting events to resume, but we are still negotiating on the number of people that might be allowed to the stadium. It may happen or not,” said Warigi.

Warigi noted that some European countries have allowed fans to the stadium to watch events owing to the fact that their vaccination exercise is high by virtue of them accessing vaccination drugs easily.