All posts by Wepukhulu Nato

From Belarus, Kimaiyo to Descend on Nairobi’s Express Highway to Chase Uhuru Classic Millions

The Minsk (Belarus) half  marathon and DuRun (Poland) 10K! course record holder Kenya’s Hillary Kiptum Maiyo Kimaiyo, moves from the Polish city’s achievement to add another feather on his cap by going for top honours in the inaugural Nairobi City Marathon dubbed “Uhuru Classic” on Sunday, May 8th, 2022.

 The 28-year-old Kenyan established the course record with his 1:03:00 in 2017, just outside of his 1:02:41 personal best set in Gdynia, Poland, in the same year.

“I want to add another achievement in my marathon career by making history as the first person to win the Nairobi City Marathon . I hope to set the course record in my home country,” said Kimaiyo.

The 2018 Padua (Italy) marathon bronze medalist Ethiopia’s Desta Shume Tafa is among the legion of Africans in the Kenyan capital chasing for glory in Nairobi’s Express Highway.

The 2020 Muscat (Oman) marathon champion Kenya’s Pius Kimani Karanja will be returning to the city where he last performed poorly and try to improve on his disappointing 15th place finish in the Standard Chartered Nairobi marathon  in 2019.

The race will be used to launch the newly built Nairobi Express Highway and celebrate the project as a legacy of Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta.

It will be the most highest paying marathon in Africa and compete against other city marathons in the world where the winner will bag Ksh6 million (US dollars 6000).

The second placed finisher will pocket Ksh 3.5 million (US dollars  35,000) while third athlete gets Ksh2.5 million (US dollars 25,000).

In the half marathon which is a 21km race, the winner will run away with Ksh250, 000 (US dollars 2,500) while the winner in the 10km race will earn Ksh150, 000 (US dollars 1,500).

According to organizers is that 10,000 runners have registered for the race which will have four categories namely marathon, half marathon, 10km and 5km fun run.

The marathon will begin at the Nyayo National Stadium then head to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), then back before diverting to streets of Narobi which will cover 9km of the spectator stage where fans will be treated to fun by the athletes which will be outside the Super Highway.

From the Super Highway the race will enter Haile Selassie Avenue then move to the Central Business District (CBD), Moi Avenue, Kencom Bus Stage, City Hall Way, Taifa Road, Harambee Avenue, Parliament Road, Holy Family Basilica, Kimathi Street, Kenyatta Avenue, University Way, Globe Cinema Roundabout, Kipande Road, Ojijo Road, Museum Hill then connect back to the Express Highway.

On the Express Highway, the runners will then proceed to ABC Place in Westlands along Waiyaki Way the return back before exiting the highway at Bunyala Road before finishing the race at the Nyayo National Stadium.

The 21km race will start at the Nyayo National Stadium then head to Ole Sereni along Mombasa Road before heading to ABC Place before returning to the finish Nyayo and will entirely cover the Express Highway.

The 10km race will start at the Nyayo National Stadium the move to Capital Centre along Mombasa Road then go up to Musem Hill before heading to finish at the stadium.

Athletes for the full marathon will assemble at the start line at 7:45am before being  flagged off by President Uhuru Kenyatta at 8am.

The half marathon will start at 7:30 before the 10km  race beginning at 8:30am before the culmination of the day’s races with the 5km fun run at 9.00am.

The roads for the marathon will be closed on Sunday 8th, 2022 at midnight (12.00am) and will be re-opened later in the evening.

The Nairobi Police Traffic Commandant Joshua Omukata said police will be available to enforce the road closures and direct motorists accordingly.

He assured the organisers, athletics officials, runners, guests and fans of adequate security during the event.

A Sprinting Showdown Looms between Olympic Champion Jacobs Against Africa’ Record Holder Omanyala

A looming showdown is on the cards between World’s best Lamont Morcell Jacobs and Africa’s finest Ferdinand Omanyala on May 7th in the 100m of the 2022 Kip Keino Classic at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani in Nairobi.

The clash is in the offing after Jacobs who is the Olympic champion confirmed his participation to face the Africa record holder Omanyala in the forthcoming Kip Keino Classic a leg of the World Athletics Diamond Tour.

Kip Keino Classic Chief Executive Officer, Barnaba confirmed the participation of Jacobs in the race in a press conference held on Sunday, May 1st, 2022 at the Athletics Kenya (AK) headquarters in Nairobi.

Jacobs and Omanyala will face Mike Rodgers, Fred Kerley and Isiah Young from the United States of America, Gift Tlotiso Leotlela and Sinesipho Dambile from South Africa and Tortu Filippo in the epic showdown.

Jacobs is the current Olympic 100m and 4×100 relays and World 60m champion.

Jacobs currently holds the 60m and 100m European records and is the first Italian to ever qualify and win the men’s 100m Olympic final.

Nairobi City Marathon Splashes Money to Become Highest Paying Race in Africa

The Nairobi City Marathon dubbed “Uhuru Classic” will be the highest paying event in Africa.

The winner will run away with US$ 6,000 dollars (Ksh6 million) for the winner of the 42km race with the top 20 earning cash prizes.

In the half marathon (21km), the winner will bag US$ 2,500 dollars (Ksh2.5 million), where the top six will win prize money.

Speaking during the launch of the marathon, Athletics Kenya (AK) Chief (Lt General retired) Jackson Tuwei said the event will be used to officially launch the Nairobi Express Highway and mark president Uhuru Kenyatta’s legacy of the road.

He said they are expecting athletes from 120 countries to turn up.

Three categories will be up for grabs including the full marathon (42km), half marathon (21km) and the 10km race and a fun run for recreation.

The marathon will begin at Nyayo stadium, head to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport then move to the City Centre which will be the spectators’ stage before heading to ABC Place in Westlands then back to Nyayo stadium for the finish.

The 21 km race will start at Nyayo Stadium then to Ole Sereni along Mombasa Road then move to ABC Place along Waiyaki Way before going back to the finish at Nyayo stadium.

The marathon will see runners compete 33km of the Express Highway and 9 outside while the half marathon will entirely be run on the express highway.

The 10km will start at the Nyayo National Stadium then head up to Capital Center along Mombasa Road, move to Museum Hill before heading back to the finish at Nyayo stadium.

Tuwei said the route has been certified by World Athletics (WA) and if a world or continental record is broken in any of the races it will be recognized.

Kipchoge Keino Wins Superbrands Personality of The Year Award

Kenyan sporting hero the legendary athlete Kipchoge Keino was awarded with the ‘Superbrands Personality of The Year Award’.

This year, and for the first time since its 2006 inception in East Africa, the program introduced the ‘Superbrands Personality of The Year Award’. The accolade was presented to the Kenyan sporting icon and legend Kipchoge Keino to be the first recipeint of the award.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist, Keino was among the first in a long line of successful middle and long distance runners to come from the country and has helped and inspired many of his fellow countrymen and women to become the athletics force that they are today.

Superbrands East Africa celebrated 40 of the region’s top brands at a Tribute Awards Ceremony held on Thursday 31st March 2022 at the Trademark Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya.

Receiving the award, the esteemed Keino noted that his hard work and focus made him a world-class competitor and urged brands to come together and support sports in the country.

“Let us work and improve sports in this country. Sports unite the youths of this country and the world and I’m sure we have a lot of talents in this country. Let us prepare and build facilities in various schools to support our youth. We can do it if we’re united and build facilities for our youths”

Amongst the many brands awarded with the Superbrand 2022 seal of excellence: Safaricom, Betika, Elgon-Kenya, Kenya Red-Cross, Supaloaf, The Guardian (TZ) and Bank of Baroda (UG).

Brands recognised in this 7th edition were derived from a 100% consumer insights survey conducted by TNS Kantar.

Keino won 1,500 metres gold at the Mexico 1968 Olympic Games, before winning the 3,000m steeplechase title four years later in Munich.

He also won two Olympic silver medals, three Commonwealth Games gold medals and two African Games titles in his career.

Keino was among the first athletes inducted into the World Athletics Hall of Fame, while he was awarded the Olympic Laurel at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony for his service to the Olympic movement.

In the year 2020, organisers of the Nairobi World Athletics Continental Tour event had announced the competition will be known as Kipchoge Keino Classic, in honour of Kenya’s athletics great.

“The committee settled on Kipchoge Keino Classic as the name of the Nairobi meet in honour of athletics legend,” event director Barnaba Korir said.

“We are glad and privileged that he has accepted the honour.”

The legend has two stadiums named in honour. Eldoret in Uasin Gishu county the town known as the “The City of Champions” its main stadium and Nandi which is commonly referred to as the “Source of Champions” both named their main stadiums as Kipchoge Keino.

The evening of March 31st, 2022, was a celebration of the leading brands that persevered and broke boundaries despite the COVID19 pandemic. Brand representation came from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

Ndereba Hands Over Report on Gender Based Violence in Sports

The Ministry of Sports of Sports has received a report on Gender Based Violence (GBV) and discrimination in sports from a committee chaired by two times World marathon champion Catherine ‘The Great’ Ndereba.

The findings of the report handed over to the Sports Cabinet Secretary Dr Amina Mohammed on Thursday, January 13th, 2022 and will be released on January 17th, 2022 during the Agnes Tirop conference in Mombasa.

The ministry will release the findings in the conference for sports stakeholders from Kenya and abroad scheduled for January 17th-21st where members will converge and discuss the priority issues of inclusivity, welfare and dignity in sports with the keen interest of finding sustainable solutions.

The conference is being held in memory of Tirop, who represented Kenya in the Olympic games for long-distance running, who was found stabbed to death in her home on October 14th, 2021. Her husband Ibrahim Rotich a prime suspect in the murder has since been arrested and charged for the killing.

Her death has highlighted incidents of violence against women in the East African country.

Her killing, just days after her last race in Switzerland, was a shock that energized a conversation in Kenya over how to combat violence against women, a longstanding problem.

On July 10th, 2021, Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed constituted a nine-member ministerial committee on gender welfare in sports.

The committee was chaired by former two-time marathon world champion Catherine Ndereba and deputised by Sports Registrar Rose Wasike.

Also included in the committee was forensic medical expert Dr Kizzie Shako, Ms Hibbo Hussein, volleyball coach Catherine Mabwi and Linda Ndiwa while the male representation was Secretary General of Kenya Archery Association  professor Paul Ochieng, World Athletics Africa Regional Development Centre (RDC) Director Ibrahim Hussein and State House Director of Brand Strategy and Events Thomas Kwaka aka Big Ted.

The CS made the decision after growing concerns over the treatment of women in sports especially among athletes themselves with the basketball fraternity having come out this week with women players complaining of mistreatment as well as sexual harassment.

The three-day conference named “The Agnes Tirop Conference’’, will run under the theme  Levelling the Playing Field, Gender Inclusivity in Sports and will include plenary sessions and panel discussions on key thematic areas such as legal, policy, and institutional framework, women in leadership and sports, mental health, sports as a tool for ending discrimination, resource mobilisation and the role of key sector players (including educationists and the media) in mitigating GBV.

Olympic Champ Peres Jepchirchir Named Kenya’s Best

Boston marathon bound and Olympic marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir has won the LG Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK) Sports Personality of November.

This comes two days after she was named in a star-studded lineup for Boston Marathon which is a World Athletics Elite Platinum Gold Label Road Race that will be held on April 18.

Jepchirchir floored stars like the men’s New York marathon winner, Albert Korir, Tennis sensational Angela Okutoyi, who won the 2021 Africa U-18 Championship and Rally champion Baldev Chager.

Other nominees were Kenya Sevens player Herman Humwa, Lucy Cheruiyot who won Mexico City Marathon and Perister Bosire who won gold in the over 78 kg division at the Dakar African Judo Open.

Jepchirchir beat a seasoned deep field to win the New York City Marathon in 2 hours, 22 minutes, 39 seconds ahead of compatriot Viola Lagat in November to bag the award.

Jepchirchir, who was awarded by the LG Electronics Corporate Communications Manager, Marketing Department Maureen Kemunto on Thursday morning at her home in Kapsabet saw the marathoner receive a state-of-the-art LG Artificial Intelligence washing machine worth Ksh92,000 and a gleaming trophy engraved with her name.

Speaking after receiving the award at her home in Kapsabet, Nandi County, Jepchirchir said the award came as a surprise to her and she didn’t expect to have emerged the best in the month of November.

She said that the award has motivated her to work hard this season with her focus on the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, USA where she will be eyeing for a slot in Team Kenya.

Kenya’s Police Boss Arrests Burundi’s Athletics President in Nairobi

Kenya’s Police Commander Francis Kooli beat Burundian Athletics president Cassie Ntahipmera to take home gold in the 13th edition of the Africa Masters Athletics championship in Nairobi on Thursday November 25th, 2021.

Kisii County Police boss Francis Kooli dashed to win the 60m race in 8.12s to demote the Burundian Masters athletics chief to silver in 9.76s in the 50-54 age category.

This was the Police boss’s second gold medal for Kenya after opening Kenya’s gold rush by sprinting to the 100m win in on day one of the event on Wednesday.

“I was inspired by Kenya’s police motto “Utumishi Kwa Wote” ( Service to All) by serving my country in flying our country’s flag high above other countries in the continent,” said Kooli in a post race interview.

Kisii Police Commandand Francis Kooli in action during the long Jump finals session at the African Masters Championships. PHOTO: Erick Barasa

Ntamphera conceded to defeat and said that Kooli  was very fitter than him owing to the disciplined forces physical training.

Kenya’s national women’s Javelin record holder Cecilia Kiplagat settled for silver in the competition’s day two major upset.

Kiplagat managed a throw of 33.43m to lose to her Kenya Prisons workmate Agnes Kilundo who speared 36.19m for gold in the 45-49 category.

Tunisia’s Said Mourali who beat Kenya’s Joseph Mosonik coach to former World Javelin champion Julius Yego on day one,  two more gold medals to his chest in the age category of 60-64.

Mourali started the day by claiming gold in the men’s 60m by timing 9:37s before leaping  1.45m to High Jump victory.

Kenya’s national  heptathlon record holder Caroline Kola sprinted to African glory by clocking 87.72 in the women’s 400m final in category 60-64.

World Military ‘General’ Mark Kiptoo Conquers Africa

World Military Games champion Mark Kiptoo added another feather to his hat of crowns by banging the continental title by winning the Africa Masters Athletics title at the Nyayo National Stadium on Wednesday. November 24th, 2021.

Kiptoo returned 32:26.04 to win the 10,000m race in the 45-49 age category.

Georgina  Mbinya wife to the 2014 Delhi Commonwealth Games 4x400m silver medalist Vincent Mumo won two gold medals by winning in the women’s 100m (13.7s) and long jump (4.48m).

Two times Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Ines Chenonge was earliest casualty of the championship by unsuccessfully failing to defend her African Masters Athletics 10,000m  title by not finishing the race by retiring midway through competition in the 50-54 category.

Joseph Mosonik coach to former World Javelin champion Julius Yego stumbled after the third hurdle to take home silver in the men’s 100m hurdles won by Tunisian Said Mourali in 20.03 in the 60-64 category.

Samuel Ndereba a younger brother to four times Boston Marathon champion Catherine ” The Great” Ndereba followed in his sister’s footsteps of running glory by winning the men’s 10,000m in 32:28.03 in the 40-44 age category.

National shot-put record holder Elizabeth Olaba struck gold by managing a throw of 10.55m in the 65-69 categories.

World Masters Champion Joyce Kirui won the continental title in 40:02.7 in the women’s 10,000m in the category of 45-49.

America Goes Wild over Olympian Athing Mu Arrival (VIDEO)

When the New Jersey native arrived at Easterwood Airport, Olympic champion Athing Mu found a crowd gathered to welcome her.

More than 200 people gathered at Easterwood Airport  to watch Tokyo Olympics double gold medallist Athing Mu come back to her native Aggieland.

As she came through the doors, the Olympian became overwhelmed by the support and enthusiasm of the crowd, and graciously thanked them for welcoming her as the crowd began chanting “USA, USA!”

Texas A&M track star and Olympian Athing Mu broke records and won two gold medals in the Tokyo Olympics, which came to an end last week.

Only 19 years old, Mu was one of the breakout stars of the Tokyo Olympic games, by winning the gold medal in the 800m with a record time of 1:55.21, becoming the first American woman to win the race in 53 years.

She also became the first Aggie, regardless of gender, to win gold in an individual track game.

Her smile was infectious as she dominated a talented 800 meter field to win the gold in that event.

Then, not long before the closing of the games, she anchored Team USA in the 4×400 meter relay to win gold alongside Sydney McLaughlin, Allyson Felix and Dalilah Muhammad. With a final time of 3:16.85, Team USA beat runner-ups Poland and Jamaica by nearly four seconds.

Though she had a lead when she took the baton, Mu ran the fastest leg in the race and crossed the finish line with no other runners even close to her.

In her Aggie tenure, Mu finished a collegiate record of 49.57 at the NCAA Championship back in June.

Mu, 19, is a New Jersey native and plans to continue her track tenure outside of the NCAA and into the professional arena after the Olympics.