Tirop memorial race renamed

Wednesday, October 12th, 2022 07:55 | By
Tirop memorial race renamed
Kennedy Kiprop (481) leads Chebolei Samuel (452) in a tough men 10km race during this year’s National Cross Country Trails in Lobo Village, Eldoret, the venue of the World Cross Country Tour. PD/ DAVID NDOLO

Athletics Kenya (AK) has renamed the second edition of the World Athletics Cross Country Tour gold meeting to  Sirikwa Classic and will be held in Eldoret on February 4.

AK senior vice-president Paul Mutwii said the federation was forced to adopt a new name away from the Memorial Agnes Tirop World Cross Country Tour as the event was initially called early this year to pay homage to the former world champion Agnes Tirop. The federation choosing to stay clear of a potential legal tussle with the slain athlete’s family over image rights.

The competition was named in honour of Tirop, who was found stabbed to death in her home in the Rift Valley town of Iten in October last year, in an incident that has shone the spotlight on violence against women.

Great achievements

During the first edition, where Samuel Chebolei and Joyce Chepkemoi were crowned winners, the order of the events was reversed so that the women’s race became the closing event in honour of Tirop, who was remembered and celebrated for her great achievements in athletics.

“We were forced to write to World Athletics on the need to change the name,” said Mutwii.

“The use of the name was in good faith, all we wanted was to keep the memories of Tirop going by naming the event after her well because of what she had done for the country, but things were moving fast, with abnormal demands being thrown at us, so we had to do the right thing and struck the name out,” said Mutwii further clarifying that it is becoming ‘risky’ to name events after legends.

“There was other potential legends to name the race after, the federation decided to steer clear,” added Mutwii.

Mutwii further urging the athletes to prepare in earnest for what will be a busy season where also the delayed World Cross Country Championships is set to be held in Bathurst, Australia on February 18.

“The program and calender is out in good time, I challenge the athletes to start readying themselves right from the first leg because cross country season is very crucial, “he said.

AK’s calendar released last week inddicates that the 2022/2023 Cross Country series will be staged in Machakos on October 15.

The second leg will be held in Kapsokwony, Bungoma County on October 29 before athletes head to Sotik, Bomet County for the third meeting on November 12.

Ol Kalou, Nyandarua County will then stage the fourth meeting on November 26 before the fifth and final leg is held in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County on December 10.

The series will then pave the way for the county championships to be held across the country on December 17. The Kenya Prisons Service championships will be held on the same date at the Prisons Training College in Ruiru.

National Police Service and Kenya Defence Forces championships will both be held on January 6 at the Ngong Racecourse and Ulinzi Sports Complex respectively.

The national cross country championships will be held on January 21 at the Prisons Training College in Ruiru.

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