Columns And Opinions
Sports facilities crucial | Nation
The organisers of Sirikwa Classic, the Kenyan leg of the World Cross Country Gold Tour series held at Lobo Village in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, on Saturday, should be commended for pulling off yet another successful event.
Sirikwa Classic is part of an annual series of cross-country running competitions. It was broadcast live on NTV and attracted more than 10,000 fans—an improvement from last year’s event, which was watched by 7,000 fans.
The success of the competition adds to Kenya’s growing reputation as hosts of key athletics competitions. Other championships it has successfully hosted are the 2007 World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa; the 2010 Africa Athletics Championships at Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi; the 2017 World Athletics Under-18 Championships at MISC Kasarani, Nairobi; and the delayed 2020 World Athletics Under-20 Championships at Kasarani. More recently, Kenya has hosted two editions of the Kip Keino Classic, a one-day track and field gold-label competition recognised by World Athletics.
Hosting these key championships comes with an opportunity to build technical capacity locally, which bodes well for the country’s ambitions of hosting even bigger championships. Before a country hosts a major championship, local athletics administrators and technical officials are trained in technical and administrative skills to ensure its smooth running.
Although Kenya has hosted major athletics events, its bid to host the 2025 World Athletics Championships was unsuccessful for the lack of a modern stadium and the increasing cases of doping locally.
While the development of technical capacity suitable for hosting international competitions is good, the country also needs to develop the requisite sporting infrastructure in tandem. This is especially necessary as Kenya plans to bid for the 2029 World Athletics Championships.
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