Why Nairobi Continental Tour has been named ‘Kip Keino Classic’


Why Nairobi Continental Tour has been named ‘Kip Keino Classic’
NOCK Chairman, Dr. Kipchoge Keino who is leading the calls for the Anti-Doping Bill 2016 to be enacted into law in record time. PHOTO/File

In Summary

  • The World Athletics Continental Tour meeting slated for Nairobi on September 26 has been named after legendary athlete Kipchoge Keino.
  • The inaugural event was earlier earmarked for May 2 before it was postponed over the unprecedented spread of coronavirus.
  • With barely four months remaining to the global event, preparations are now gathering pace with organisers leaving nothing to chance.
Gilbert Kiprotich, Chief Athletics Writer

The World Athletics Continental Tour meeting slated for Nairobi on September 26 has been named after legendary athlete Kipchoge Keino.

The inaugural event was earlier earmarked for May 2 before it was postponed over the unprecedented spread of coronavirus.

With barely four months remaining to the global event, preparations are now gathering pace with organisers leaving nothing to chance.

As in many events that honour great sportsmen and women, the race has been dubbed ‘Kip Keino Classic’ in honour of the retired athlete who is regarded as the father of athletics in Kenya.

Keino won a gold medal in 1500m at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico before bagging another gold in 3000m steeplechase four year later in Munich Olympics.

He also bagged two Olympic silver medals and three Commonwealth Games gold medals and a bronze.

Later on, he turned to sports administration where he served as the president of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K).

Similarly, the 10,000m event has been named after another athletics legend, Naftali Temu, who won Kenya’s first Olympic gold medal over the distance at the 1968 Games.

Steeplechase star, Ezekiel Kemboi receives Long Distance Athlete of the Year trophy from Nock chairman Dr. Kipchoge Keino during the 2015 AK annual awards gala held at Safari Park hotel in Nairobi, Kenya on December 10, 2015. Photo/Stafford Ondego/www.Sportpicha.com
Keino won a gold medal in 1500m at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico before bagging another gold in 3000m steeplechase four year later in Munich Olympics. Photo/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha.

According to the race director Barnaba Korir, the two legends deserve the recognition for their contribution in development of the sport in the country.

“We decided to name this event after Kipchoge Keino because every Kenyan knows that he is the father of athletics in this country. We also set out the 10,000m race as Naftali Temu Classic in honour for Temu’s heroics because we have to recognise the contribution of these great icons of athletics in this country,” said Korir.

At the same time, Korir disclosed that the event may be turned to a regional competition if the strict measures put by different countries to curb the spread of the virus would not have eased by then.

“Before the suspension of the race we had received many athletes who were interested in competing however as a result of the pandemic we might have a problem especially if the skies are not open by then. The idea is that we have athletes from Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia to grace this event in case it will be difficult for others to come,” said Korir.

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Story By Gilbert Kiprotich
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