Kenya, Ethiopia seek regional athletics competition


Kenya, Ethiopia seek regional athletics competition
Ethiopian ambassador to Kenya Meles Alem with Ministry of Sports Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohammed during the official opening of the Annual Athletes Conference on December 6, 2019. (PHOTO/Gilbert Kiprotich)

In Summary

  • Kenyan and Ethiopian leaders have backed the formation of a regional athletics championship to keep alive disciplines that were dropped  from the World Athletics Diamond League series
  • The World Athletics recently struck off the 3000m steeplechase event out of the 2020 Diamond League calendar,  sparking calls for Africa to develop its own race especially for distance competitions

Kenyan and Ethiopian leaders have backed the formation of a regional athletics championship to keep alive disciplines that were dropped  from the World Athletics Diamond League series.

The World Athletics recently struck off the 3000m steeplechase event out of the 2020 Diamond League calendar,  sparking calls for Africa to develop its own race especially for distance competitions.

Speaking Friday at the Annual Athletics Kenya (AK) athletes Conference in Eldoret, Ethiopian ambassador to Kenya Meles Alem said it is high time East African countries came up with their own series of events.

“Ethiopia and Kenya are not rivals but brothers of the same parents that is why our two countries have great athletes. A few disciplines have been excluded from the diamond league and so we have to look for ways we can bring this competitions to Kenya and Ethiopia and Africa at large.

“These disciplines are major areas that Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda athletes prevail so we have to explore other avenues,” said Alem.

The two countries have had supreme global dominance in the middle and long distance running and the World Athletics’ decision to pull the plug on the selected events has been viewed by some as discriminatory.

Uasin Gishu County Governor Jackson Mandago supported the creation of another regional or continental championship.

“I am in agreement that one of the things we need to explore as region is how we can use those particular sporting events that have been removed from the Diamond League to enhance the flow of tourists to this region. We should take it positively and have an opportunity to host major events,” said Mandago.

Nandi County Governor Stephen Sang said the North Rift region is ready to host international events however he urged the governement to expedite the construction of the stalled stadiums in the region.

On Wednesday, AK president Jackson Tuwei disclosed that Kenya and other African countries filed a joint protest to the World Athletics concerning the removal of the events from the Diamond League series.

The conference entered the fourth day with the official opening ceremony conducted by ministry of Sports Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohammed.

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Story By Gilbert Kiprotich
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