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Ethiopia’s capital to host 70th FIFA Congress in 20201 min read

The Congress will take place at African Union’s headquarters in May 2020.

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Ethiopia's Addis Ababa to host 70th FIFA Congress in 2020 | News Central TV
(File photo)

The Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa is set to host the 2020 FIFA Congress. This announcement was made at the end of the 69th Congress in Paris, France.

The Congress will take place at African Union’s headquarters in May 2020.

“In just over three years, this organisation went from being toxic, almost criminal, to being what it should be: an institution that develops football,” said Infantino when addressing the Congress.

“This new FIFA has a mission and a plan for it, which is why the next four years have, in fact, already started: we have laid solid building blocks for the future.”

Earlier in the year, it was announced that Addis Ababa will host the 2020 edition of the World Economic Forum. And in May, Addis hosted the World Press Freedom Day activities for three days in 2019.

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Kenya’s Shujaa Stage Bold Comeback to Win African Title & Secure Olympics Spot

The Kenya men’s rugby Sevens team, Shujaa, qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo following their 31-0 win over Uganda

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The Kenya men’s rugby Sevens team, Shujaa, qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo following their 31-0 win over Uganda at the finals of the Africa Men’s Sevens in Johannesburg, South Africa on Saturday. The 2019 Africa Men Sevens tournament, an annual rugby tournament is organized by Rugby Africa and doubled up as the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Qualifiers for Africa.

Shujaa joins the Kenya Lionesses, the national women’s sevens rugby side, in the list of teams that have so far qualified for the Olympics, scheduled to take place from 24th July to 9th August 2020. The team, captained by Andrew Amonde, made a stellar display at the tournament, sailing through the group stage unbeaten with a 36-7 win over Ivory Coast, 50-0 over Senegal, before flooring Namibia 33-0 and Uganda 24-7 to emerge at the top of Pool B.

Having narrowly evaded relegation from the World Rugby Sevens Series last season, when it recorded its lowest performance ranking since 1999, the team hopes to put its best foot forward in the coming weeks and at the start of the new sevens circuit in December 2019. To this end, Kenya intends to leverage the experience of newly appointed New Zealander, Paul Feeney, who serves as the national technical director of rugby in the country.

The former Auckland and South African Stormers coach won the 2005 Rugby Sevens World Cup with Fiji and will now head the Kenya Sevens program, in addition to supporting the 15s and the women’s Lionesses teams in areas of skills and defense. Speaking to News Central in Nairobi on the team’s performance in Johannesburg, Paul Feeney said, ‘The goal was to win the tournament and qualify for the Olympics, which we achieved. We have 8 months to prepare for the Olympics and to that end, we need to get on the sevens circuit and put in some good performances. There are a number of areas such as fitness, strength and conditioning we will work on gradually and from each tournament we play, we will find out more about ourselves, the level we are playing at and where we need to be.”

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Kenya celebrates as Kipchoge makes them proud

Eliud Kipchoge’s historic marathon time on Saturday was greeted with joy and pride in his native Kenya.

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Eliud Kipchoge’s historic marathon time on Saturday was greeted with joy and pride in his native Kenya.

“I am happy today because he has won in Kenya and in the world. I thank him so much for this, for me, for Kenya and the world,” said Kipchoge’s mother Janet Rotich who watched in her home village Kapsisiywa as her son became the first man to run the marathon distance in less than two hours.

Kipchoge’s run in Vienna was broadcast live on all Kenya’s television stations. 

Even so, in Eldoret, the city 40 kilometres from Kapsisiywa where the 34-year-old runner, his wife and three children live, and in Nairobi, crowds gathered in the early morning to watch the run on giant screens.

Read Also: Ineos 1:59 Challenge: Kenya’s Kipchoge says ready to “break the two-hour barrier

In Eldoret, the fans watched in feverish excitement as their champion ticked off the kilometres and exalted when Kipchoge crossed the finish line with a clock displaying 1hr 59 min 40 sec, throwing hats and water bottles into the air.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta quickly issued his “hearty congratulations”. 

“You’ve done it, you’ve made history and made Kenya proud while at it. Your win today, will inspire tens of future generations to dream big and to aspire for greatness. We celebrate you and wish you God’s blessings,”  President Kenyatta continued. 

Kenya’s vice-president William Ruto, who had made the trip to Vienna, sent out a series of tweets.

“A blistering 1.59.40! Congratulations @EliudKipchoge for the historic achievement in shattering the sub-two-hour barrier for the marathon; you are arguably the greatest runner of all time.”

Athletics, along with sevens rugby, is the most successful sport in bringing Kenyans together, regardless of their social or ethnic background. 

In Kapsisiywa, Eliud’s older brother, Wilson Sugut, said the run showed what individuals could achieve.

“He told the world that no human being is limited and that he will overcome this two-hour barrier,” he recalled. “People couldn’t believe it, but now we can believe it.” 

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Ineos 1:59 Challenge: Kenya’s Kipchoge says ready to “break the two-hour barrier”

Kipchoge, 34, went close to breaking the two-hour barrier when he was 25 seconds too slow in another staged run

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Ineos 1:59 Challenge: Kenya's Kipchoge says ready to "break the two-hour barrier"
Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge poses for photographers prior to his press conference in Vienna on October 10, 2019, prior to his attempt to break the two-hour barrier on the October 12, 2019 marathon in Vienna. (AFP)

As he prepares for more assaults on the peaks of marathon running, Eliud Kipchoge stays true to an austere lifestyle despite his fame and fortune.

The Kenyan superstar, who holds the marathon world record and is reigning Olympic champion, hopes to become the first man to run the 42.195 kilometres in under two hours on Saturday in Vienna.

Despite his status and wealth, the 2018 world athlete of the year leads a monastic existence at a spartan running camp in Kenya’s Rift Valley.

With the 30 or so runners living at the camp, Kipchoge sets off at dawn for the first of two daily training sessions. 

The rest of his time is spent resting, reading and eating, with a focus on simple Kenyan food staples. 

“I don’t think I am different. I am trying my best to live a modest life,” he said.

“I am a simple person, I try to stay calm and focus on what I do. There are no distractions.”

The special event in Vienna, sponsored by British conglomerate Ineos, has been given a catchy marketing title: the “1:h59 Challenge”.

Kipchoge, 34, went close to breaking the two-hour barrier when he was 25 seconds too slow in another staged run, at Italy’s Monza race circuit in 2017. 

That time was not sanctioned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) because a vehicle and a squad of pacemakers aided Kipchoge in controlling his speed.

The same conditions will prevail for the Vienna attempt, preventing any potential world record from being validated.

‘Landing on the moon’ –

“This is about history,” he said. “It’s about leaving a legacy. It’s about inspiring people,” he said of the Vienna event.

“My main message to the 7.5 billion people in the world is that no human is limited.”

“Breaking the two-hour marathon barrier would be like man landing on the moon,” he said.

He added that it would “show to the world that when you focus on your goal, when you work hard and when you believe in yourself, anything is possible.”

Kipchoge was born in Kapsisiywa, Nandi County in western Kenya. 

At 18, he beat two legendary runners, the Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj and Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele, to became 5,000-metre world champion in Paris in 2003.

In 2012, after failing to qualify for the London Olympics, Kipchoge switched to marathon running.

With his compact silhouette and unwavering stride as the miles tick by, Kipchoge is perfectly suited to the longer distance. 

Out of 12 marathons, he has lost just once: in his 2013 debut in Berlin, against compatriot Wilson Kipsang, who broke the world record that day. 

Kipchoge set his world record, 2hr 1min 39sec, in the Berlin race in 2018.

He had met coach Patrick Sang in 2001 and joined the fabled running stable in the foothills of the Rift Valley a year later.

‘Sense of sacrifice’ –

Kipchoge enjoys no privileges at the Kaptagat camp where he is nicknamed the “philosopher” for his love of reading. The camp is a few hours’ walk from his home village, Eldoret. On weekends, he returns to his family.

Coach Sang, an Olympic runner-up in the 3,000m steeplechase in 1992, remains impressed with his student’s determination.

“He has continued to amaze me with his self-sacrifice and dedication. He has given 100 per cent of his ability and total commitment to what he does,” he told reporters.

The champion’s often mischievous gaze hardens when the subject of doping arises. Kipchoge has never been caught up in scandal, but the reputation of his Kenyan compatriots has raised questions.

Kipchoge, who will defend his Olympic title in Tokyo next year, is fixated on Saturday’s challenge.

“I have visualised it. I have put it in my heart and my mind that I will break the two-hour barrier,” he said.

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