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AK now resorts to hiking road race license fees

NAIROBI, Kenya, September 25- Athletics Kenya (AK) has now resorted to hiking license fees and making doping control mandatory to stem the number of road races being organised in the country.

Speaking during the launch of the 4th Safaricom Ndalat Ngaa Kids Cross Country that will run on October 13, AK chief, Isaiah Kiplagat, said the federation had opted to follow the fresh guidelines as opposed to denial of licenses based on prize money caps announced earlier due to ‘political sensitivity’.

“We want to see how the new rules will apply and curb the practice of using athletics to raise funds for themselves but not for the purposes they applied for the license. We shall form a committee after the elections that will be for project inspection of these events.

“Once in a while, we shall deny licenses on prize money but eventually, that is where we want to go. There are so many politicians in this country against us we make such moves including former runners who are saying that we are against development of young runners,” Kiplagat explained.

The chair stood by his proclamation last week that the federation would not sanction any marathon that did not offer at least Sh500,000 as the top prize money with a cap of Sh250,000 set for half marathons.

With doping kit costing approximately Sh1m, the chair added the prohibitive costs of conducting drug testing, prize money obligations in place and exorbitant license fees would deter those keen on making a quick buck by organising road races that have mushroomed in recent times in the country.

“I know that events like Ndakaini Half, Masai Mara Marathon and Mwea Marathon that were held recently did not follow the guidelines but from next year, we shall not permit them,” he stressed.

The Ndalat Gaa event will officially kick-off the domestic cross country series with organisers stating they were expecting 4,000 entrants including the reigning World Half Marathon titleholder, Wilson Kiprop and World Youth winner, William Malel Sitonik, who will headline the annual event.

Communication firm Safaricom improved their Ndalat Gaa sponsorship from Sh500,000 to Sh1m, with Sh250,000 from the deal being set aside for logistical costs.

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A total of 16 events will be contested from the elite men and women senior races to fun run for veterans aged between 40 and 50 years.

After Ndalat, the seven-meet national cross country series will roll off ahead of the selection event for the Bydgoszcz World Cross in February next year.

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