Ethiopian envoy pledges support for Nairobi’s global track meets
Ethiopia will rally its athletes and fans to travel to Nairobi in droves for forthcoming international competitions, Ethiopia’s ambassador to Kenya Meles Alem has assured.
With Nairobi hosting the World Athletics Continental Tour and World Under-20 Championships at Kasarani in May and July, the envoy said it behoves the region’s nations to ensure the competitions are a success.
The Continental Tour will be held on May 2, while the World Under-20 Championships will run from July 7 to 12.
Alem spoke on Monday when he received Athletics Kenya official Barnabas Korir who is also director of the Nairobi leg of the Continental Tour.
Korir briefed the ambassador on preparations for the May 2 meeting that will be the first in 10 competitions organised globally under a new format that will understudy the annual Diamond League series.
“Like Ethiopia, Kenya is an athletics giant and we are happy that Nairobi is hosting these competitions because it’s a great opportunity for Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes,” Alem said.
“I will engage the top Ethiopian athletes so that they can come to Nairobi. This is victory for Africa.”
Enhancing sporting relations
Korir assured that preparations for both competitions are on course and thanked the ambassador for enhancing sporting relations between Nairobi and Addis Ababa.
“Kenya and Ethiopia are the most important athletics nations in the world and we have made it clear to World Athletics that it will not be business as usual if events central to Kenya and Ethiopia – like the steeplechase, 5,000 and 10,000 metres – are relegated from the global competition calendar,” Korir said.
The Kenyan government and World Athletics will jointly finance the May 2 Continental Tour meeting with the government guaranteeing to meet the bulk of the costs.
Additional financing will be sourced from sponsors with over Sh20 million set aside for prize money alone.
The other meetings on the Continental Tour series are Tokyo, Japan (May 10), Nanjing, China (May 13), Ostrava, Czech Republic (May 22), Hengelo, Netherlands (June 1), Turku, Finland (June 9), Kingston, Jamaica (June 13), Szekesfehervar, Hungary (July 7), Silesia, Poland (September 6) and Zagreb, Croatia (September 15).
Korir also thanked the Ethiopian ambassador for attending the Athletics Kenya athletes’ workshop in Eldoret last December, saying the gesture went a long way in cementing the already cordial sporting relationships between Kenya and Ethiopia.
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