NAIROBI, Kenya, May 12 – World Athletics has confirmed that Kenya will hold its intended Continental Gold Tour event in Nairobi on September 26, having earlier been suspended as the world battled to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The event had been initially scheduled for May 2, opening the Continental Tour. And now, Nairobi will retain its place with eight of the 10 meetings initially planned set to go on with new dates.
“I am extremely happy that we have finally confirmed a new date for the Meeting. We now have something to look up to before the end of the season and just before the start of the new season. At least our athletes can train with a target and we also want to see whether we can add in more events to ensure we increase the number of our athletes participating,” Athletics Kenya Executive Committee member Barnaba Korir, who is also the race director told Capital Sport.
He intimated that there will be 18 gold events lined up for the one-night event set to be staged at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani.
This season will not be as big as it has been before especially with the Diamond League but at least we are relieved there is something to start us off. Our athletes have really been suffering because most of them do not have other jobs and now at least they can have somewhere to get something,” Korir added.
There will be a total prize purse of at least Sh21.3mn (US$200,000) offered for each Gold meeting and this will be an opportune moment for athletes to get their financial side started ahead of the new campaign.
“As we have worked through the challenges posed by the pandemic and the disruption it has caused to our sport, as well as the wider community, our first priority was the health and safety of our athletes. And the next priority has been to find a way to get our professional athletes back into international competition this year as their incomes rely on this,” World Athletics boss Seb Coe said.
He added; “I’m delighted that it now looks like we will be able to offer them a solid international season between August and October where they can earn prize money and assess their training progress in preparation for next year’s Olympic Games, although we know this will not be easy for everyone.”
Korir meanwhile says the Local Organizing Committee will continue with its meetings to plan for a classic event.
“We have been having meetings every two weeks but now that we have a new date confirmed, we need to move faster and continue with the plans so we will be meeting more frequently,” Korir said.
He added; “We are also working to get some sponsors on board to add spice to the event and make it a huge one. This will be an opportunity for them to not only support the event but also support our athletes.”
The first Continental Tour Gold meeting of the year, the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland has been scheduled for August 11.
At the same time, World Athletics says it is still in consultation to fix a new date for the World Under-20 Championship which had been initially scheduled for July in Nairobi.
New 2020 Athletics calendar
11 Turku – Continental Tour Gold
14 Monaco –Diamond League
16 Gateshead –Diamond League
20 Szekesfehervar – Continental Tour Gold
23 Stockholm –Diamond League
2 Lausanne –Diamond League
4 Brussels –Diamond League
6 Paris (tbc) –Diamond League
6 Silesia – Continental Tour Gold
8 Ostrava – Continental Tour Gold
15 Zagreb – Continental Tour Gold
17 Rome/Naples –Diamond League
19 Shanghai –Diamond League
26 Nairobi – Continental Tour Gold
4 Eugene –Diamond League
9 Doha –Diamond League
17 World Athletics Half Marathon Championships
17 China (venue tba) –Diamond League