World Athletics has confirmed that Kenya will hold its Continental Gold Tour event in Nairobi on September 26, having earlier suspending the competition due to the coronavirus pandemic which has gripped the world.
The event had initially been scheduled to take place on May 2, as the opener for the new World Athletics Continental Tour. The Kenyan capital will now retain its place on the tour with eight of the 10 meetings originally scheduled set to go ahead with new dates.
Announcing the new dates, race director and executive committee member of Athletics Kenya Barnabas Korir said “I am extremely happy that we have finally confirmed a new date for the Meeting. We now have something to look up to before the end of the season and just before the start of the new season. At least our athletes can train with a target and we also want to see whether we can add in more events to ensure we increase the number of our athletes participating.”
Korir revealed that a total of 18 gold events are lined up for the one-night event which will hold at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani.
“This season will not be as big as it has been before especially with the Diamond League but at least we are relieved there is something to start us off. Our athletes have really been suffering because most of them do not have other jobs and now at least they can have somewhere to get something,” he added.
There will be a total prize purse of at least Sh21.3mn (US$200,000) offered for each of the 10 gold level meetings as well as significant World Ranking points. A minimum of $20,000 will be available for each of the core events ($6000 for the winner) and $10,000 for each of the discretionary events ($3000 for the winner).
“As we have worked through the challenges posed by the pandemic and the disruption it has caused to our sport, as well as the wider community, our first priority was the health and safety of our athletes. And the next priority has been to find a way to get our professional athletes back into international competition this year as their incomes rely on this,” World Athletics boss Seb Coe said.
He added, “I’m delighted that it now looks like we will be able to offer them a solid international season between August and October where they can earn prize money and assess their training progress in preparation for next year’s Olympic Games, although we know this will not be easy for everyone.”
Meanwhile, Korir says the Local Organizing Committee will continue with its meetings to plan for a classic event.
“We have been having meetings every two weeks but now that we have a new date confirmed, we need to move faster and continue with the plans so we will be meeting more frequently,” Korir said.
He added; “We are also working to get some sponsors on board to add spice to the event and make it a huge one. This will be an opportunity for them to not only support the event but also support our athletes.”
The first Continental Tour Gold meeting of the year, the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland has been scheduled for August 11. World Athletics says it is still in consultation to fix a new date for the World Under-20 Championship which had been initially scheduled for July in Nairobi.
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