Sports

Sirikwa registration swells

Friday, January 26th, 2024 00:30 | By
Sirikwa registration swells
Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba (second right) with Uasin Gishu Governor Jonathan Bii (second left) join multiple World Record holder Faith Kipyegon (right) and legendary marathon Eliud Kipchoge in a mock race during the launch of the KCB scholars student athlete scholarship programme yesterday. PHOTO/ MINISTRY

World bronze medalist in the men’s 3000m steeplechase Abraham Kibiwott, 2022 national cross country champion Grace Loibach and Emmaculate Anyango are among the latest elite athletes who have been confirmed for the third edition of the Sirikwa Classic World Cross Country Tour at Lobo Village in Eldoret next week.

Kibiwott will be in action in the senior men’s 10km race, where he will battle it out with the 2018 World Half Marathon silver medalist Aron Kifle of Eritrea, the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games champion Edwin Bett of Kenya and Vincent Maiyo among others.

Apart from Kifle, other foreigners who have confirmed participation include Collins Kgadima and Keaton Stansfeld of South Africa, and Peter Gidoska of Tanzania. The 20-year-old Loibach and Anyango will be similarly in action in the senior women’s race, where they will pit their wits against others including last year’s runner-up at the Prague Half Marathon, Janet Chepngetich as well as runner-up at the Dublin Marathon, Joan Kipyatich. Others include World Half Marathon bronze medalist Catherine Amanang’ole and Caroline Jepkorir. Registration is ongoing with the deadline set for three days before February 3 competition.

Speaking during the official launch, race director Barnaba Korir urged athletes to continue registering in numbers.

“The registration is still on and so we encourage them to continue registering. We expect this year’s event to be much bigger and better than the last edition,” Korir said. The one-day event will be held across eight categories of competition including senior men’s and women’s 10km race, under 20 men’s 8km, under 20 women’s 6km, under 18 boy’s 5km, under 18 girls’ 5km and kids athletics (boys and girls).

Meanwhile, the County Government of Uasin Gishu in partnership with National Museums of Kenya and Harvard University are working on a program to tap into the rich athletic talent in the region.

The initiative seeks to tap into the athletics fame that Kenya relishes and preserve it as a heritage. Deputy Governor John Barorot yesterday termed Kenya as an ‘athletics goose that lays the athletics eggs, stretching production of best runners from 1964 up to date’.

Speaking as he graced a workshop dubbed ‘Footprints: 2 million years of running in Kenya’ in Eldoret, Barorot said the heritage will work to motivate generations to come. He said the program is inspired by the fact that Uasin Gishu County heavily contributes to Kenya’s dominance in athletics. Barorot disclosed that a county plan to harness sports for empowerment.

“We are also mulling over a program to incorporate sports and academic excellence. This will go an extra mile to bring up people who can do well in class and sport,” said Barorot.

The County Government has already built a wall of fame at the Eldoret Arboretum, with the names and awards of athletics world-beaters whose names are in the global charts. Speakers during the forum proposed the establishment of walls and murals with names and details of celebrated world-beaters, along major highways in the region.

This also promotes tourism, as world record holder over 3000 metres, Daniel Komen, proposed.

Prof Daniel Lieberman, a professor from Harvard University said the running fame that Kenya relishes needs to be harnessed to be a motivation to generations.

Daniel Manthi, the Director of Antiquities at the National Museums of Kenya had almost similar sentiments.

The partnership will also birth a national exhibition to celebrate Kenya’s athletics and running heritage, later this year.

County Executive for Sports Lucy Ng’endo, her Chief Officer, Jelagat Tirop and deputy directors Nicholas Busienei, Meshack Chemwor, Viola Korir and Henry Mukolwe, attended the workshop.

Retired and active athletes and coaches were also present.

Governor Jonathan Bii’s administration has already announced that a street will be dedicated in honour of World Marathon Champion Eliud Kipchoge and other athletes who have brought glory to the region.

“Eldoret is the City of Champions. Other World class athletes among them Faith Kipyego, Moses Tanui and Ezekiel Kemboi among others also call here home and it’s prudent that we name some streets in their honour,” Bii said last week.

According to Bii, the continued exemplary performance of Kenya’s athletes especially those from the North Rift had put the country on the world map and marketed the region as a rich athletic destination.

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