Absa Kip Keino Classic: How the global showpiece has grown from strength to strength

Absa Bank Kenya Consumer Banking Director Moses Muthui (2nd L) with 100m athlete Ferdinand Omanyala, 800m athlete Mary Moraa and 400m hurdles athlete Wiseman Were during the Absa KipKeino Classic launch at the Nyayo National Stadium set to host the championship on Saturday, April 20, 2024. [Stafford Ondego,Standard]

Excitement is already building up for the fifth edition of Absa Kip Keino Classic World Continental Tour Gold slated for Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on April 20, 2024.

The high-profile championship has attracted the who-is-who in the athletics world; from Olympics 200m silver medalist Kenneth Bednarek of the USA to the 2016 Olympics javelin champion Thomas Rohler of Germany.

Others in the mix are Olympics hammer throw champion Wojciech Nowicki and the 2022 world hammer throw champion Pavel Fajdeck.

Complementing this foreign legion are homegrown heroes including Commonwealth Games 100m champion Ferdinand Omanyala, World 800m champion Mary Moraa and World 800m silver medalist Emmanuel Wanyonyi, among others.

To ensure the event runs smoothly, financial services provider Absa Bank Kenya has sunk in Sh40 million for logistics, media and publicity.

Absa Bank Kenya Consumer Banking Director Moses Muthui has told Kenyans to expect a superb outing this season. He is very hopeful that records will be shattered in Nyayo which he described as a very fast track.

His sentiments have been echoed by Omanyala who has stated: "I'm excited because the new venue is a very quick track, I don't know what to expect, but I'm sure it will be a good run for me, I'm working forward to post faster times at the event."

While calling upon Kenyans to turn up in large numbers for the day, Muthui stated: " As Absa, we are proud to be associated with everything about this event, to us your story matters, and there is nowhere your story matters more than seeing young Kenyan men and women going to the global stage to do athletics as a sport and be in it for a very long term."

Absa has already roped in 400m African bronze medalist Wiseman Were in their stable and more athletes are expected to join the fray ahead of the championship.

"Wiseman doning Absa shirt is great, we are open to work with more (athletes), already, bilateral discussions with the other athletes are ongoing," Muthui stated.

In his general assessment of the past four editions of the championship, Muthui says the event has been growing in leaps and bounds, and strength to strength.

"In 2020, the stadium was almost empty due to Covid-19 pandemic, we showed resilience by taking the championship to the television and radio stations since Kenyans were not able to come to the venue.

" Currently, the stadium is very much open and seeing the venue full in the past three editions simply means Kenya is back and as Absa, we are grateful to be part of that resilience and recovery."

Muthui is quick to admit that Kip Keino Classic has greatly elevated their brand and those of other players in the private sector by connecting them to the athletes, fans and the communities at large.

"As financial services providers, we have brought in a holistic support to the event. The two are symbiotic; sports elevate brand profiles while brands, like ours, goes a long way to support and elevate profiles in athletics and other sports."

And how significant is the Kip Keino Classic to the country?

"Event is a Continental Gold Tour, meaning we are just a heartbeat away from the Diamond League. Besides, Kenyans get the chance to watch visiting world beaters from around the globe, including our very own homegrown champions," he says.

Muthui further expounded on their commitment to athletics stating: " We have done this for the past three years and we are committed. By the end of this year alone, we will be investing up to Sh60 million in the discipline. We started with the Sirikwa Classic World Cross Country Tour in February and now the Kip Keino Classic, we are going to do other events for young and upcoming athletes to show our commitment to the game."

Muthui is grateful that they have so far sunk close to Sh1.2 billion in the past decade in support of sporting activities across the country ranging from football, golf apart from athletics.

"We have been involved in golf in a big way, we started with the Magical Kenya Open which is now part of the European Tour, we are supporting English Premier League as official banking partners and sponsors, this year we supported the Magical Kenya Ladies Open which was held in Vipingo," he underlined.

The 2024 Absa Kip Keino Classic men's 100m line up

1.Ferdinand Omanyala

2.Mark Otieno

3.Emmanuel Matadi-Liberia

4.Kenneth Bednarek- USA

5.Ali Chituru- Italy

6.Arthur Cisse- Ivory Coast

7.Jeremiah Azu- Great Britain

8.Demek Kemp -USA

By AFP 8 hrs ago
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