NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 12 – Organizers for the Nairobi leg of the World Athletics Continental Gold Tour, The Kip Keino Classic, are hoping to have spectators for the October 3 event scheduled for the Nyayo National Stadium.
This is going to be Kenya’s first public sports event since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic in March which caused a halt to major sporting events all over the world.
Race director Barnaba Korir, who is also an Athletics Kenya National Executive Committee member says they are working with the ministry of health and ministry of sports to see out a possibility of having at least 15,000 fans at the afternoon event.
“The capacity of the Nyayo Stadium is 30,000 and we are looking to have at least half of that in the stadium. Of course we are working very closely with the Ministries of sports and health to work out the protocols to ensure there is a safe way for fans to be there,” Korir told Capital Sports.
He adds; “We saw what happened in Turku (Finland) yesterday and we were very impressed. The event went down very well and there were fans. There were no incidences and that at least gives us hope that ours will go down well too.”
The Ministry of Sports is scheduled to release guidelines for the return of sports in the coming days and the success of the Continental Gold Tour will go a long way in clearing the path for more events to be opened up.
The event has meanwhile been pushed forward by a week to October 3, up from the earlier September 26 date.
“The Doha Diamond League was rescheduled to September 25 and this has forced us to push our event because we also want it to be big and attract big names. That is the sole reason we pushed by a week,” Korir noted.
With the country opening up its international borders and allowing more countries to fly in, Korir is optimistic that athletes of huge stature will come to the country and take part in the event.
“Yeah that was a very huge relief for us because at least now we will have more athletes coming in. Before there was some uncertainty about rules on how they are going to allow foreigners into the country but with the new protocols I think everything will be okay,” opined Korir.
The organizers are yet to release the events to be competed on in the race but Kenyan athletes are hopeful they can get a chance to compete on home soil.
Meanwhile, as they announced an adjustment of the re-jigged athletics calendar on Tuesday, World Athletics also affirmed the cancellation of the Frankfurt and Paris Marathon races which were scheduled for October and November respectively.