NAIROBI, Kenya, May 10 – Athletics Kenya (AK) chairman Isaiah Kiplagat believes all is not lost as far as organization for the 17th Senior African Athletics Championships are concerned.Kiplagat who is also the chairman of the event’s local organizing committee said on Monday that preparations are in full swing with the equipment set to arrive by the end of the month.
“We have equipment coming from Sweden, Belgium, China and Italy. When they arrive they will be assembled and tested during our national championships which will be the test event,” said Kiplagat.
The chairman also toned down concerns that the public has not been made aware of the tournament which begins on July 28 and requested the present media to do their bit in giving the event mileage.
“It is up to you. You’re the one’s who talk to the public. Don’t dwell on the fact that the preparations are lukewarm. Everything is going to plan,” said Kiplagat.
Kiplagat announced that the formation of the warm up track at Nyayo National Stadium will start on Monday while the equipment that determines the photo finish is already at the airport.
He also said that the event’s promotion campaign will kick off in earnest.
“As we speak, the flyers and other marketing materials are being printed. We are also in discussions with the NCC (Nairobi City Council) to put up billboards to hype up the event,” he added.
Forty six countries have confirmed their participation in Africa’s athletics showpiece event.
“So far we are expecting 1340 athletes depending on the qualifications. If they all make the required mark, this will be the biggest event in the country since the World Cross Country championships in 2007,” added Kiplagat.
Kiplagat was speaking during the announcement of a partnership between the tournament and Kenya Airways.
“As part of our initiative to make traveling to this event as affordable as possible, we are offering athletes and officials a 20 percent discount on airfare for the tournament,” said KQ’s head of marketing and communications Dick Omondi.
The airline’s offices throughout Africa will also be branded with the tournament’s logo.