Kip Keino Classic leaves a lasting impression
The Absa Kip Keino Classic organizers are pleased with the event's standards, which have become dear to Kenyan athletics fans.
On Saturday, the fourth edition of the meet drew an impressive 251 participants — both local and international — who electrified the Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani.
The showpiece was sprinting king Ferdinand Omanyala. To rapturous applause from ecstatic fans, he blasted his way to victory in the 100m race in a world-leading time of 9.84 seconds.
The dignitaries at Kasarani included President William Ruto, Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba, and opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Athletics legends came from all over to attend the event. The meet was attended by John Carlos, the 1968 Olympic Games Black Power salute hero, and Kevin Young, the 1992 Barcelona Olympic 400m hurdles champion.
Fans flocked to Kasarani in numbers ranging from 35,000 to 40,000.
The Local Organising Committee, led by Athletics Kenya president Jack Tuwei, will now assess the successes and failures.
"Of course, we had the hits and misses that come with such large events, but overall, the meet was a success." "We want to thank everyone who helped," Tuwei said.
The athletics director believes that the success of this year's event will strengthen Kenya's bid to host a Diamond League round.
Tuwei expressed gratitude to title sponsors Absa Kenya Bank, the government, and leading telecommunications company Safaricom for their assistance. He also praised Kenyans for turning out in large numbers to cheer on the athletes.
Tuwei praised Nation Media Group for its insightful and high-quality coverage of the live Continental Tour event.
The government contributed Sh320 million in sponsorship, Absa Kenya increased its sponsorship to Sh60 million this year, and Safaricom contributed Sh9.2 million. The event was estimated to cost Sh500,000.
"The fans were so cheery, they gave athletes the drive and encouragement to do well," Tuwei said, noting that some events had to be delayed at one point due to the cheering.
"The meet was a huge success due to the large turnout of 115 foreign athletes." This is our biggest tour, and we can't afford to take it for granted."
Tuwei stated that the biggest setback was the withdrawal of multi-Olympic and world 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce on the eve of the meet due to an injury.
"We wish her a speedy recovery." Tuwei believes she will return next year because she has a large fan base in the country.
He regretted that the women's 400m race was delayed due to starting gun gremlins at some point.
Fans attending such major events should follow stadium etiquette when it comes to race start times, he said.
"In the future, fans should be aware that it is critical to remain calm at the start of races, particularly sprints." "They must avoid anything that may cause discomfort to athletes," Tuwei said, adding that spectators should refrain from storming the field after events have concluded.
"They must not storm the field at any cost in order to allow the athletes to leave after the presentation." Anything that could cause concern must be avoided."
In terms of preparation, he stated that negotiating with elite athletes — both domestic and foreign — begins early, and large sums of money are involved in terms of appearance fees, travel and lodging expenses.
"These are top-tier athletes who don't just show up. It entails a lot, in addition to logistics, lodging, transportation, medical, security, and technical expenses.
"There's a lot that goes into planning." We must account for everything. "It's not an easy or cheap affair," he admitted.