Omanyala to compete US 100m Olympic silver medallist Fred Kerley
United States 100m Olympic silver medallist, Fred Kerley will take on African record holder Ferdinand Omanyala during the third edition of Kip Keino Classic set for May 7 at the Kasarani Stadium.
Kerley, who last year became the first athlete to win the 100m and 400m series at the Diamond League, will be making a return to Nairobi having won the 200m event during the 2021 edition.
The announcement was made on Friday by Athletics Kenya (AK) President Jackson Tuwei during the official media launch where Absa Kenya gave Sh23 million to boost the event.
Tuwei sounded optimistic that Kenya will be awarded the rights to host a leg of the prestigious Diamond League series from next year.
“We are attracting the very top athletes in the world. Besides Kerley who was here last year, we shall be having another Olympic silver medallist Kenny Bednarek from the United States coming to compete in 100m,” said Tuwei.
Presently, Rabat in Morocco is the only African city that stages a Diamond League meeting after it was awarded the rights in 2016.
“It is something that we started sometimes ago when we were awarded the hosting rights for the Continental Tour Gold meeting. It is our hope and prayer that when we host our third edition of the Continental Tour then we can be honoured to host the Diamond League,” Tuwei said.
Tuwei further said Kenya has a high chance of successfully bidding to host the 2025 World Athletics Championships.
“In 2019 we approached the government to give us the go-ahead for a bid and we’re happy they accepted. At Doha 2019 we submitted the bid and in 2020 we received instructions on how to apply the second stage which was done via documentation,” he said.
“We will have a huge number of World Athletics officials, three of them council members coming to assess the quality of our bid. They will confirm the things we noted in the documentation and thereafter make a report for the World Athletics Council,” he added
The sentiments were echoed by Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed who said that World Athletics had made a promise to Kenya that it would award the country the rights to host the prestigious annual series. -AMOS ABUGA
“Getting the privilege to host the Kip Keino Classic confirmed Kenya as a sporting destination and a source of champions. It’s wonderful to get to host it for a third time on May 7 and I’m proud because preparations have been thorough and we expect a seamless event. There is a promise that after this year, there are arrangements to have this go to the next level – the Diamond League. My rallying call today to Kenyans is to ask them to come and support their own,” she said.
Absa Kenya CEO Jeremy Awori said they are keen to support and nurture athletics talent in the country.
“I urge the public to come to Kasarani because this is a world-class athletics event. The organisers are setting up what is truly a top event and we’re going to see the output of what has been going on behind the scenes. Absa is proud to be a lead sponsor for this event so let’s come and enjoy ourselves,” said Awori.
Event meet director Barnaba Korir said the organizers will allow 100 per cent spectator capacity at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
“We will welcome as many fans to the stadium as possible given that we have been given green light by the government. We urge the fans to come and cheer our athletes,” said Korir.
Korir further added that top athletes continue to confirm for the event.
So far, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, one of the greatest sprinters of all time will star in the 100m race together with Olympic silver medalist Christine Mboma among other athletes.
Hammer throw champion Anita Włodarczyk of Poland was confirmed earlier on for the event.
Włodarczyk, the only woman to win three consecutive Olympic titles, will be making her maiden appearance.
Others are Olympic champion in the men’s category - Wojciech Nowicki also from Poland.
Nowicki will be making a return to Kenya after competing in last year’s event where he was ranked second with a throw of 77.99m.
The men’s event will be a battle of Olympic podium finishers that will see Nowicki face-off with Eivind Henriksen (silver medallist) and Paweł Fajdek (bronze medallist) who reigned supreme in last year’s event.
Also confirmed is Olympic 3000m steeplechase champion Peruth Chemutai of Uganda who will take on defending champion Kenya’s Celliphine Chespol will face off in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase at the Kip Keino Classic.