Olympic champ Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and America's Richardson set for Kip Keino Classic

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, of Jamaica, wins the semifinal in the women's 100-meter run at the World Athletics Championships on Sunday, July 17, 2022, in Eugene, Ore. [AP Photo]

Multiple Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica and USA's Shacarri Richardson are among the star attractions at the fourth edition of the Kip Keino Classic meet, a World Athletics Continental Gold Tour, set for Kasarani Stadium on May 13.

Ferdinand Omanyala, Africa's fastest man, will light up the men's 100m lineup while world 800m bronze medalist Mary Moraa will lead the Kenyan women onslaught.

On Friday, title sponsors Absa Bank presented a Sh60m million investment for the national athletics season this year. Of this commitment, Sh50 million will be utilised as title sponsors of the 2023 edition of the Kip Keino Classic Tour, setting the stage for the final edition of the global athletic showpiece.

The remaining Sh10 million will be used as leverage amounts to support subsequent events in the Kenya athletics calendar, including the Under 18 and Under 20 African Championships trials and the National World Athletics Bronze Cross Country and Sirikwa World Athletics Gold Cross Country which happened in February.

Speaking during the announcement at the Kasarani Stadium, Absa Bank Kenya Managing Director Abdi Mohamed affirmed the Bank’s long-term support for the local sports scene at large. “Athletics is the heart of Kenya’s sports, and it plays to the betterment of our society. As a truly African brand, we are honoured to be part of the team shaping the success of the Absa Kip Keino Classic Tour for the third consecutive year as the official title sponsors,” said Mr Mohamed. 

In this June 19, 2021 photo, Sha'Carri Richardson celebrates after winning the first heat of the semis finals in women's 100-meter runat the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore. [AP Photo]

Principal Secretary, Ministry of Sports, Youth Affairs and the Arts, Jonathan Mueke graced the launch encouraging the private sector to collectively and individually promote the development of sports to uplift the economy. 

“The government is taking sports and arts as an economic enabler and key to this identification, development and commercialising talent, especially among our young people. We thank Absa on behalf of the government and invite people from all walks of life to Kasarani as the event will be free of charge,” adds Mr Mueke.

On his part, Athletics Kenya’s President Lt. Gen. (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei said: “Preparations for this international event are progressing well. We are expecting a bigger and better event due to the number of athletes who are coming. We urge Kenyans to turn out in large numbers to help us set the stage for our plans to upgrade Kip Keino Classic to the Diamond League. ”

During the 2022 World Continental Tour calendar, two records were broken.

For the first time in the history of the competition, 2396 personal bests were set by runners from diverse backgrounds. Secondly, athletes set 118 national records.

A total of 11,793 athletes from over 159 nations including Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda battled it out in different venues across the world.

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