Champion Pawel to defend title at Keino Classic
Four-time world champion Pawel Fajdek will be defending his title in the rich hammer throw field when Kip Keino Classic returns to the Kenyan capital for the third time on May 7.
Fajdek, who won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, will once again be up against Olympic champion Wojciech Nowicki who he defeated at the 2021 edition at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
Organisers say the competition will provide athletes with an elite-level platform to compete on ahead of the World Athletics Championships slated for July 15 -24 in Oregon, United States.
Unlike in the previous two editions, the third edition of the World Athletics Continental Gold Tour event will witness fans allowed to the 60,000-capacity stadium after Covid-19 guidelines led to the events being held in an empty stadium.
“We are excited to welcome the fans back to the stadium because we know exactly their important role in such competitions,” said Kip Keino Classic meet director Barnaba Korir.
Korir said entries have started coming and will be anticipating huge competition on the field event once again.
“If you thought the 2021 edition was big, I think this year will be bigger, Fajdek and Nowicki are no doubt among the world’s biggest sporting stars in the hammer competition, that they have chosen to compete in Nairobi is a plus for us,” added Korir.
The two Eastern European heavyweights will once again clash at the World Championships this year where Nowicki and Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Eivind Henriksen from Norway will be out to end Fajdek’s nine years of dominance.
“Besides the usual rivalries on the track, the field duels will be equally entertaining to watch and therefore something to look forward to,” noted Korir.
During the 2021 edition, Fajdek, won the world titles back-to-back in 2013 Moscow, 2015 Beijing, 2017 London and 2019 Doha hauled 78.33m, a meeting record for victory.
Nowicki followed with 77.99m to settle second behind as Ukrainian Kokhan Mykhaylo 74.75 settled for bronze
The Continental Gold Tour starts with the Bermuda Games on April 9 at the National Sports Centre, Devonshire, Bermuda followed by Golden Games on April 16 at Hilmer Lodge Stadium, California, United States.
Meanwhile, legendary Kipchoge Keino, whom the event is named after, said the championships also seek to promote local talents with several national events on the card.
“Kenya has been known to produce world-class talent but the previous two editions have showcased our capacity to stage global athletics events,” Keino said.
“I don’t expect those standards to drop during the third edition.”
“Beyond this year, it would be my great desire to see Kenya secure hosting rights for the Diamond League and other bigger events,” Keino said in anticipation.