NAIROBI, July 22 – Athletics Kenya (AK) needs Sh300 million to successfully host the 2010 Africa Athletics Championships.,
At the same time, Lieutenant General Jackson Tuwei has been appointed as chairman of the local organising committee for the Championships which will take place at Nyayo national stadium.
AK chairman Isaiah Kiplagat said Tuesday that Tuwei will head all the operations of the committee as Kenya plays host to the international athletics community for the second time after last year’s World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa.
Minister for sports Hellen Sambili will officially launch the organising committee on Thursday evening.
Kiplagat confirmed that they had presented the championships’ budget to the government and were waiting word on its approval.
“We have made a budget of the requirements to successfully host the championships and hopefully the government will come to our aid in a big way since it has promised support,” he said.
Kiplagat added that the continental athletics event will grow in importance as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is considering using it as an Olympic qualifying event.
“IOC wants to restrict the number of athletes at the games to 15,000 and as we increase the number of sporting disciplines, there is a need to reduce the number of participants in other disciplines. They are doing a study on whether AAC can be used as a qualifier,” said Kiplagat.
Kiplagat admitted that one of the organising committee’s challenges will be how to draw spectators to the event.
“Ethiopia set the precedent with big attendances and we must strive to achieve similar crowds. We are going to do a lot of marketing and publicising of the event as well as having curtain raising events before the championships itself,” he observed.
Kenya won the right to host the competition in Senegal last year after edging out Benin 11 votes to 10 in tightly contests bidding contest.
The continental championships were first held in 1979 in Dakar where 257 athletes from 24 countries took part.
The last edition was held in Ethiopia in April 2008 where Kenya finished fourth with five gold medals, five silver and six bronze medals.
David Rudisha (800m), Richard Mateelong (3,000m steeplechase), Haron Keitany (1500m), Pamela Jelimo (800m)and Grace Wanjiru (20k walk) all won gold.
Florence Wasike (heptathlon), Gideon Gathimba (1500m), Isaac Songok (5,000m), Michael Kipyego (3,000m steeplechase) and 4×400 metres relay team all clinched silver.
Ruth Bosibori (3,000m steeplechase), Mary Njoki (20k walk), Sammy Keskenny (javelin), Asbel Kiprop(1500m), Willy Komen (3,000m steeplechase) and Grace Momanyi (5,000m) grabbed bronze.